CBS: ‘Down and Dirty’ Republicans Call for Burris to Resign

Nancy Cordes, CBS On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on perjury allegations against Illinois Senator Roland Burris and calls for his resignation: "Burris admits he did much more than just talk to one person, in fact, he says he talked to four other people with close connections and took three phone calls from the ex-governor's brother about raising money. In the down and dirty world of Illinois politics, some Republicans are calling on him to resign."

In addition to bashing Illinois Republicans, Cordes’s report featured CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen, who argued: "From a purely legal point of view, it is not a strong perjury case. All it does is suggest that Mr. Burris was a little bit more involved in all of this than he initially claimed to be."

In contrast, in January 2007, Cohen described perjury charges against Vice President Cheney’s former chief of Staff Scooter Libby this way: "The whole thing reminds me of an experience I had in law school. I was serving as a ‘baby’ public defender and one of my ‘clients’ was a man, already incarcerated, who was being brought up on new charges that he stole a car. "I didn't steal that car," he said to me. ‘Great,’ I said. ‘That's great. Can you tell me what did happen?’ ‘You don't understand,’ he said to me, "I'm a crack dealer. I don't do that petty car (stuff).’ That is darn close to what Libby and his lawyers are saying. He was an architect and implementer of (mostly failed) foreign policies, the defense goes, and thus did not have time, inclination or criminal state of mind to be guilty of the petty offense of perjury and obstruction of justice."

Here is the full transcript of the Evening News segment:

6:39PM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Now the latest on Roland Burris. He replaced President Obama in the Senate one month ago today, but now, as Nancy Cordes reports, there are calls for Burris to quit.

ROLAND BURRIS: I will not take any questions.

NANCY CORDES: For the second day in a row, Illinois's new senator pushed back against accusations of perjury.

BURRIS: I hear on the T.V. news somebody says last night, 'well, if Roland Burris lied, should he resign?'

CORDES: At issue is Burris' testimony before Illinois legislators during last month's impeachment trial of then Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was accused of trying to sell President Obama's vacant Senate seat. Burris was asked if he had spoken with Governor Blagojevich's brother or any other associates about the seat.

BURRIS: I recall having a meeting with-

CORDES: But in a new affidavit, Burris admits he did much more than just talk to one person, in fact, he says he talked to four other people with close connections and took three phone calls from the ex-governor's brother about raising money. In the down and dirty world of Illinois politics, some Republicans are calling on him to resign.

TOM CROSS: It's hard for him to be an effective United States Senator given what's going on.

ANDREW COHEN: From a purely legal point of view, it is not a strong perjury case. All it does is suggest that Mr. Burris was a little bit more involved in all of this than he initially claimed to be.

CORDES: Burris insists none of the contact was inappropriate and says he raised no money for the ex-governor. Still, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office said today clearly it would have been better if he had been more forthcoming sooner. Harry.

SMITH: Nancy Cordes at the Capitol tonight. Thanks.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC