As the head of the FBI's Chicago office tells it, when he informed Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday morning, informing him that two agents were at his door to serve an arrest warrant, the lawmaker's response was, "Is this a joke?"
The same could be said of the governor's alleged comments caught on federal wiretaps during a three-year investigation.
Chicago's FBI chief Robert Grant told reporters that long-time investigators were shocked at what Blagojevich was recorded saying, given the scandal-dogged governor knew he was under federal watch and had to have known agents were listening to his conversations.
In the FBI's assessment of the recordings, the investigators determined that Blagojevich grappled with the idea of inserting himself into the open Senate seat created when Barack Obama won the presidential election.
Among the reasons the governor considered this action were, the investigators concluded: frustration over being "stuck" as governor, his belief that as a sitting Senator he'd have greater resources to fight an indictment, and, most notably, to increase his national status for a possible run for president in 2016.
Below are some of the more brazen - and often profane - comments the FBI recorded:
He continued: "… if I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll just take the Senate seat myself." The Senate seat "is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing."
Later that day, Blagojevich was recorded saying he had "elevated" Senate Candidate 5 on the list for the open seat. In a conversation with someone labeled Fundraiser A, the governor said of the negotiations with Senate Candidate 5 that "you gotta be careful how you express that and assume everybody's listening, the whole world is listening. You hear me?"