After teasing the idea of commuting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's prison sentence, President Trump has pulled the trigger.
Last summer, Trump said he was thinking "very strongly" about commuting Blagojevich's prison sentence, saying the former governor has "been in jail for seven years over a phone call where nothing happens — over a phone call which he shouldn't have said what he said, but it was braggadocio you would say." Six months later, Trump confirmed Tuesday he has commuted Blagojevich's sentence. This followed a report from The New York Times that he had done so.
"I did commute his sentence," Trump told reporters. "So he'll be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail. That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence, in my opinion."
Blagojevich was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2011 after trying to essentially sell former President Obama's Senate seat. He had been recorded saying of the seat, "I've got this thing, and it's f--ing golden. I'm just not giving it up for f--ing nothing." Trump said last year that there "have been many politicians — I'm not one of them, by the way — that have said a lot worse over the telephone." Blagojevich was also convicted over shakedown attempts involving a racetrack and a children's hospital as prosecutors cited a "pattern of racketeering activity" in office, NBC News reports.
Shortly after his comments last August, CNN reported that Trump seemed to have "backed off" the idea of commuting Blagojevich's sentence after receiving pushback from Illinois Republicans. But since then, he evidently came back around to the idea. Trump said Tuesday that Blagojevich "seemed like a very nice person" when he appeared "for a short while on The Apprentice," where Trump fired him after complaining that his "Harry Potter facts were not accurate."