[Chicago Tribune] President Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday night that he is "very strongly" considering commuting the federal corruption sentence of disgraced and imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.|
Speaking to reporters after making visits to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, following mass-shootings in those cities over the weekend, Trump said he thought the former Democratic governor had been mistreated. Blagojevich had been a fired contestant on Trump’s former NBC show, "The Celebrity Apprentice."
"I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly; he was given close to 18 years in prison," Trump, a Republican, said. "And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things ‐ and it was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleazebags that did it."
The president’s reference to "Comey" involves former FBI Director James Comey whom Trump has repeatedly criticized, contending he sought to politicize the nation’s top law enforcement agency in the 2016 election in which Trump faced Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. After taking office, Trump fired Comey amid an investigation into his campaign’s alleged contacts during the election with Russian emissaries.
Blagojevich, who served as Illinois governor from 2003 until his impeachment and removal from office in 2009, was sentenced to 14 years on federal corruption charges after his December 2011 conviction.
Blagojevich was convicted of attempting to use his office to personally benefit, offering the former U.S. Senate seat of then-President-elect Barack Obama for barter, but also for trying to use his official office to gain a prosperous job or gain campaign funds in exchange for his actions.