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Trump tweets White House staff is continuing to review the 'possibility of commuting' Rod Blagojevich's sentence

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that his staff continues to review the possibility of commuting the remainder of former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence.
  • Blagojevich was found guilty of trying to benefit from the process of selecting a replacement for the Illinois Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated.
  • He had pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich waves to supporters outside his home after returning from his sentencing hearing December 7, 2011 in Chicago.
Getty Images

President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that his staff continues to review the possibility of commuting the remainder of former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence.

"Rod Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He has served 7 years. Many people have asked that I study the possibility of commuting his sentence in that it was a very severe one. White House staff is continuing the review of this matter."

This was not the first time the President has floated the offer. He mentioned it out of the blue after returning from a visit to the victims and the first responders of the two deadly mass shootings over the weekend.

"We're going to be doing something very, I think -- very impactful," he told reporters aboard Air Force One.

"A man who is a Democrat, not a Republican -- who I don't know very well, but he was on 'The Apprentice' for a couple of weeks," Trump said, referring to his defunct reality television show. "His name is Rod Blagojevich. And I am thinking about commuting his sentence ... in fact, I'm very strongly considering that -- I think he was treated unbelievably unfairly."

Blagojevich was found guilty of trying to benefit from the process of selecting a replacement for the Illinois Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated after he was elected president in 2008. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

The disgraced former governor, now 62, is currently set to remain in prison until at least May 2024.

The New York Times, citing people with knowledge of the commutation talks, reported that Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, had suggested Blagojevich be pardoned, "saying that it would appeal to Democrats."

However, the offer has received backlash from Trump's own party members, including the entire House Republican delegation from Illinois, which came out against a commutation for Blagojevich on Thursday afternoon.

Blagojevich "has a clear and documented record of egregious corruption," they said in a joint statement. Commuting his sentence "sets a dangerous precedent and goes against the trust voters place in elected officials."