Video: Blago wants to subpoena Obama

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    >> thanks so much. keep in mind the president's speech comes less than a week after the s.e.c. of course filed that civil fraud case against goldman sachs , a move that could help clear the way for reform legislation, certainly giving it political impetus. joining us, maryland's democratic congressman elijah cummins, who's been calling on the s.e.c. to cast a wider net and look at dozens more potentially fraudulent transactions. welcome. you and peter fazio wrote a letter last week. what do you want the s.e.c. to do now?

    >> we want the s.e.c. to do its job. we want them to look at several other deals. there were 24 other deals that came under bacchus' set of transactions. we want to look at those, too, because we believe that this thing is widespread. it's not just this goldman deal that is the subject of the complaint. there's a lot more to it. and we want them to make it clear that if money was paid out from aig with regard to these ceos, we want to make sure that the american people get their money back and that if there was any criminal activity , and rhea, we think those folks need to be brought to justice . you just can't have a situation where people are possibly defrauding their investors and then just say, you know, we'll fine you a few dollars and then life goes on . we believe that if, in fact, there has been criminal activity , that those matters should be sent to the justice department for prosecution.

    >> but of course what the s.e.c. has alleged here, if anything, is a civil case . and a lot of people are puncturing it and saying that they don't have that good a case, possibly because these things are so complicated and the disclosurery hard to prove.

    >> well, one of the wonderful things about the s.e.c. and mayor shapiro is they've had the opportunity to look at these things very carefully. keep in mind, they have been negotiating with goldman for over a year and they came to a point where they decided -- made a decision that they had to file this complaint, this civil complaint. but andrea , just because it's a civil complaint does not mean that there was not criminal action in this. we don't know. but i do have confidence with regard to the s.e.c. under miss shapiro, and i think that the vote the other day, the 3-2 vote to proceed with this matter, says a lot. i leave it to their expertise. but the main thing that we have to concentrate on, and i think goldman should welcome this examination, is that we have to have a clear , transparent and accountable market because in the long run if we do not have that, people will not be investing. people need to know that when they invest their funds they are investing into a fair and honest system .

    >> just briefly, congressman, before i let you go, the -- what nancy pelosi has just said about the influence of money at her weekly briefing just to bring you up to date, she has said that the democrats are there for middle- class families, republicans are there for special interests , but when asked about all the money that flows into both political parties from wall street and leading democrats were up there raising money only, you know, days ago, as were republicans , of course , she said they don't get anything because the fact is democrats have been leading the way for reform of wall street . so i don't know what you say is the fact they give more money to democrats than republicans . what matters is is the policy is here. does it, though, create an image problem for the public, for politicians to be facing a public when they've taken all this money from wall street ? why raise money there if you're so critical of them?

    >> it does cause a problem . unfortunately, we need more extensive campaign finance reform . i can tell you that the 45 members who signed onto this letter to the s.e.c. with peter defazio and i, i'm sure that many of them have accepted money from wall street . but i can tell you they are independent thinkers, they're doing what they believe is right. the letter is a tough letter . and it just goes to show you that more important than anything is that we need campaign finance reform .

    >> okay. elijah cummings , thank you very much .

    >> thank you.

    >>> and coming up next, the

updated 4/22/2010 4:07:32 PM ET 2010-04-22T20:07:32

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich asked a federal judge on Thursday to issue a subpoena for President Barack Obama to testify as a witness at his corruption trial.

Blagojevich said in court papers filed by defense attorney Sam Adam that Obama would be able to resolve questions surrounding the government's allegation that the former governor sought to sell or trade the seat left vacant following the president's November 2008 election.

"President Barack Obama has direct knowledge of the Senate seat allegation," Blagojevich's 11-page motion filed with U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said.

There was no allegation in the court papers of any wrongdoing on Obama's part.

It would be extraordinary if a sitting president were subpoenaed to take the witness stand in a Chicago political corruption trial or any criminal trial. Zagel has not indicated how he might respond to the unusual request.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, Randall Samborn, had no comment. Messages seeking comment were left at the offices of Adam and two other defense attorneys, Samuel E. Adam and Sheldon Sorosky.

Defense attorney Michael E. Ettinger, who represents the former governor's brother, businessman Robert Blagojevich, said he was not surprised by the unusual motion. Adam, a fixture among Chicago defense attorneys for decades, is known for his flamboyant rhetoric.

"This is what he does," Ettinger said. "I've been working with him for 40 years, and he's sharp as a tack."

Blagojevich has been charged with scheming to sell the Senate seat and using the powers of the governor's office illegally to pressure potential campaign donors for contributions. Robert Blagojevich has been charged with helping him. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Zagel has scheduled the trial to get under way June 3.

The motion seeking Obama's testimony contained several paragraphs that had been blacked out. This action is usually taken when the court has put information under seal.

The defense attorney said there was a conflict between comments made by Obama at a news conference and statements to federal prosecutors made by a labor union president and a candidate for the seat.

The specifics of the statements from the union president and the candidate were blacked out in the version of the motion that was filed publicly on the court docket.

"There are two conflicting stories and the defense has the right to admit evidence that contradicts the government's claims," the motion said.

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