Illinois lawmakers launch impeachment of governor

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois lawmakers approved an inquiry on Monday into whether Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be impeached in the wake of charges he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

The Illinois House of Representatives voted 113-0 to form a committee to determine whether that body should bring as yet undefined charges against him, which if approved would result in a trial in the state Senate and his possible removal from office.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan -- like Obama and Blagojevich a Democrat -- told reporters in Springfield, the state capital, the charges might include "abuse of power."

"We are preparing for a trial in the (state) Senate" and will move with "all due speed," Madigan said, although he added the inquiry could take weeks.

Chicago defense attorney Edward Genson, after meeting with Blagojevich for a third day, told reporters on Monday night that the governor had no plans to resign.

"He's not stepping aside. He hasn't done anything wrong. We're going to fight this case," Genson said.

Blagojevich earlier went to work again at his Chicago office, signing several bills despite the growing demands that he resign -- and not make a Senate appointment.

The governor, 52, is accused of conspiracy to commit fraud and solicitation of bribes, based on conversations recorded on court-approved wiretaps. He has shown no willingness to resign his $177,000-a-year post.

Under current law, Blagojevich, whom federal prosecutors arrested last week, and charged with attempting to swap the Senate seat and political favors for cash and jobs, has sole power to fill U.S. Senate vacancies.

The Democratic-led Illinois House shelved a bill, backed by Republicans, to hold a special election in April to elect a new senator to replace Obama. The body then adjourned until January 12, leaving the 21-member impeachment committee to meet through the holidays, if necessary.

Jockeying for the Senate seat has taken on partisan overtones as Republicans see the election as an opening to flip a seat that had been expected to remain in Democratic hands.

Republicans objected vociferously to the move to postpone consideration of the election, with state Rep. William Black decrying it as "chicanery."

Democrats will hold 57 of the U.S. 100 Senate seats, with the Illinois seat vacant and the outcome of a Republican-held Minnesota Senate race still undecided.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat who would take over as governor if Blagojevich is removed, has offered several approaches to the Senate vacancy but said he would like to appoint a new senator as soon as possible, regardless of whether there is a special election.

OBAMA AGAIN DENIES ROLE

Obama's office issued a statement saying its review of contacts with Blagojevich confirmed that Obama had no direct communication with the governor and that Obama's advisers did not have "inappropriate" discussions with the governor's staff about filling the seat.

The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago said it asked for a delay in public release of the review's results so it could conduct interviews. The results will be released next week, Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said.

"There is nothing in the review that was presented to me that in any way contradicted my earlier statements that this appalling set of circumstances that we've seen arise had anything to do with my office," Obama told a news conference.

The controversy has been a distraction for Obama and his team as he announces Cabinet nominations and tries to lay out plans for dealing with the recession and other crises once he becomes president on January 20.

In the FBI affidavit recounting the charges against the governor, Blagojevich was overheard cursing with frustration that the Obama team would offer him only "appreciation" for naming a particular candidate to the Senate seat. Earlier, Blagojevich is quoted as saying he hoped to use his leverage to obtain an ambassadorship, a Cabinet post or a well-paid job.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, daughter of the House speaker and a potential candidate for governor in 2010, asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to remove Blagojevich from office on the grounds he was "disabled" and had paralyzed state government.

Lisa Madigan and other Illinois officials said on Monday a $1.4 billion debt issue that was delayed last week would go ahead on Tuesday, after warning that a $4.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills was mounting and could halt food service to state prisons, close nursing homes and prevent state police from buying gas.

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On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.