Back home in Hawaii, Obama awaits report into Illinois Senate scandal

President-elect takes first break since election victory

Peace and privacy are the two gifts Barack Obama, the President-elect, will be looking for this Christmas as he and his family, trailed by aides, reporters, photographers and secret service agents, begin a 12-day break on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The soon-to-be First Family landed in their chartered Boeing 767 at Honolulu's international airport late on Saturday before heading across the Koolau mountain range to a bungalow beach home in the town of Kailua. It will be his first substantive break since election day. He arrived on the island, where he spent 14 of his first 18 years, after finalising his choices for his cabinet in record time and completing a long stretch of press conferences.

How tranquil his time at the rented $9m (£6m) home with a swimming pool and grass lawn down to the beach will actually be remains to be seen, however. Reporters travelling with him – surely grateful to be feeling sand between their toes instead of the scrub of Crawford, Texas, where President George Bush has spent often protracted holidays – will be limited in their access to him. The roaming paparazzi may be more difficult to control.

It presumably did not escape the Obamas when they pondered the brochures – and certainly not the President-elect for whom Oahu holds few mysteries – that local laws demand that the beach at Kailua must always remain open to the public. Screening members of the family, including the President-to-be, when they venture into the Pacific from casual digital snappers may not be achievable.

Recreation is certainly in the diary, however. On Sunday, Mr Obama, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, headed first to a Marine camp gym for a light work-out. He then played some holes on a local golf course with an aide, at one point suggesting to waiting members of the press that they retire to the clubhouse and order some beers on his tab. The journalists, for the record, declined the offer.

But even in Hawaii business will surely intrude also. Mr Obama is slated to receive national security briefings daily and aides said he is working privately on key issues, most notably the economy which he has promised to tackle with a far-reaching stimulus package from the moment he takes office.

His transition team, moreover, are expected to release today an internal report into all contacts that took place between Mr Obama's close aides, including Rahm Emanuel, his appointed Chief of Staff, and Rod Blagojevich, the Governor of Illinois, who has been accused by federal prosecutors of corruption.

While the report is being keenly awaited, officials said Mr Obama would not be making a statement about it. The document will seek to dampen suggestions that Mr Emanuel, a congressman from the Chicago area, may himself be incriminated in an affair which centres on allegations that Governor Blagojevich intended to extract some material advantage from his selection of a successor to fill the Senate seat Mr Obama will vacate.

According to sources, Mr Emanuel may have spoken to the governor only once, and the issue of Mr Obama's Senate seat was barely raised. It is believed, however, that he spoke several times to the governor's chief of staff, John Harris, and that in those conversations he mentioned Mr Obama's preference for filling his seat with an adviser and old family friend, Valerie Jarrett.

Ms Jarrett, who has since been appointed to serve as a senior adviser to the President-elect in the White House, will, as it happens, be among a number of close associates invited to spend Christmas with the Obamas in Kailua. She and her host will both be anxious to see all links between them and the Blagojevich affair vanish before they return home.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice