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Pick a lane, please

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Fox News

The potential commutation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s federal prison sentence has been put on hold amid White House officials’ fears of public pushback, sources say.

Two sources told Fox News that on Thursday, Blagojevich, 62, made it to processing for his discharge from a federal prison in Littleton, Colo. However, a commutation was put on hold after a Trump administration official became concerned about opposition to the idea, which the president said he was “seriously” considering.

In a tweet, Trump said the issue was under review.

“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,” he posted.

* I’m told that this statement from the state’s GOP congressional delegation last Thursday had a lot to do with the flip-flop…

Congressmen Darin LaHood (IL-18), John Shimkus (IL-15), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Mike Bost (IL-12) released the following statement regarding former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

“It’s important that we take a strong stand against pay-to-play politics, especially in Illinois where four of our last eight Governors have gone to federal prison for public corruption. Commuting the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, who has a clear and documented record of egregious corruption, sets a dangerous precedent and goes against the trust voters place in elected officials. We stand by our letter and urge the President to not commute Rod Blagojevich’s sentence.”

In June of 2018, the entire Illinois Republican U.S. House delegation sent a letter to President Trump opposing the commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s sentence. You can read that letter here.

* I am in the “keep him locked up” camp when it comes to Rod. But the president has teased Blagojevich’s release so many times that I actually started to feel sorry for the man yesterday (and I never thought I’d say that). And I really did feel sorry for his kids. Their hopes have been raised so many times only to be repeatedly dashed on the rocks of presidential indecision.


Amid continuing uncertainty over whether President Donald Trump will commute Rod Blagojevich’s prison sentence, the disgraced former Illinois governor’s family released a statement Monday night reiterating its gratitude toward the president.

“The family is grateful to President Trump, and they are hopeful that their 11-year nightmare might soon be over,” family spokesman Mark Vargas said in a text message that he subsequently released on Twitter.

I suppose they have to cling to their public gratefulness, but I wish the president would make a decision one way or another and finally stick with it and move on.


  1. - Razzle Dazzle - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    And it sure beats talking about gun control and those Jeffery Epstein photos.

  2. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    Wait until 3:00 friday before Labor Day. Free Blago.

  3. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    I know many don’t like Rod at all, for good reason, but for the Love of Pete, I can’t imagine what it was like for him and his family to literally be moving toward the exit door only to be pulled back.

    Agree with Rich, Trump needs to make his mind.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    I’m of the bend, let him out.

    I’m also of the bend that no person should be subjected to the seemingly royal whim of someone dangling freedom as a means to change subjects in the news.

    If POTUS is gonna do it, then do it. Timing now as a distraction is lost.

    Otherwise, say “nope, I thought on it, and no”

    That poor family (kids)

  5. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    Long time commentor, long time Rod disliker.

    But at this point, it isn’t really fair to Rod and I am feeling sorry for him(yes, like Rich I never thought I would say this) but this toying with him stuff (intential or not) is just vindictive and mean. At one point I have to admit I would have been ok with that, but after 7 years it’s just…

    I would say just make a decision, but at this point I think he should just commute the sentence and be done with it, otherwise it is going to hang over Rod’s head for 2 more years and even he doesn’t deserve that.

  6. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    I understand all the “will he or won’t he” can cause some anxiety and disappointment for Rod and his family. But I can’t feel sorry for someone who solicits help from Trump, you should know what you are getting yourself into and at the end of the day he isn’t motivated to do the right thing, or to help you, but rather to help himself.

  7. - Illinoised - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    Trump is being cruel and insensitive. Who woulda thunk it?

  8. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    His waffling may not be considered punishment, but it’s definitely cruel and unusual. Which I guess may be par for the course.
    At this point, just let him out. The political damage has been done last week. No one’s going to remember that he ended up not letting him out- if that’s the route he finally lands on.

  9. - revvedup - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    I want Blago to serve every day of his well-deserved sentence; he got off very lightly for all those convictions. However, the President needs to decide to decide; it is actually cruel to Rod and the Blagojeivch family to keep them all hanging like this.

  10. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    Leave it to Trump to make me feel bad for Blago…

  11. - thoughts matter - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    At this point, the words cruel and unusual come to mind. Let him out - the political damage has already been done last week. NO one is going to remember the actual outcome.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    ===Leave it to Trump to make me feel bad for Blago…===

    This wins.

    This (2019) has been one tiring year.

  13. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    Two things make me favor commutation: there has to be a better use of that cell/bed than the incremental more deterrence keeping Rod in it will have, and I thought Judge Zagel got emotionally involved in the case (in large part thanks to Rod’s counsel, but he’s supposed to do better).

  14. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    I’m pro release. If his sentence was 10 years, Blago would be getting out about now. I think lots of people thought it was too much time, and Blago, despite being a horrible person, has a certain unfortunate media charm to him. It probably wouldn’t hurt Trump as much as some might think.

  15. - Just a Citizen - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    Let him out for heavens sake

  16. - Grecier - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    oh - you mean like the anxiety Blago caused when he was extorting the children’s hospital for campaign money or when he hid in the bathroom instead of making a decision or when he left a backlog of clemencies, or when (fill in your own blank)….give me a break with this whimpering for him already

  17. - Iggy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    If I was king for the day and I had to rule on this I would

    Put him on house arrest for a year
    assign him 1000 hours of community service

    and then set him up with a podcast studio because seriously the world needs Rod, just not in an elected official capacity.

  18. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Sorry. Not sorry. Still don’t feel bad for ole Rod. His family, sure. But just because the guy in the White House is teasing him…? If we felt sorry for everyone that got teased by this administration, the list would be endless. Finally though, someone who deserves it gets it.

  19. - JoanP - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    = Blagojevich, 62, made it to processing for his discharge from a federal prison in Littleton, Colo. However, a commutation was put on hold =

    I don’t know. It seems really unlikely that the BOP would be processing him out if the commutation hadn’t come through.

    (On the other hand, the BOP’s track record for efficiency and following regs has been pretty lousy in recent days.)

  20. - ZC - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    Good point above; Rod’s wife has been actively campaigning for this pardon on Trump-friendly news outlets.

    You appeal to Trump, you basically bring it on yourself and your kids, to live and die by his whimsy.

    Actively choosing to live by Trump’s word, isn’t any additional argument for leniency (this is aside from the question whether the sentence was too long from the get-go).

  21. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    Rich, like you I started to feel sorry for Blagojevich yesterday as the current “on-again” and “off-again” status of his commutation seems a bit unfair. However, then I remembered that as Governor he completely ignored his own pardon powers which made hundreds of families unfairly wait until he was no longer Governor to have their paperwork even looked at.

    Rod hasn’t been Governor in 8 years, and we just now got caught up with the pardon backlog a few months ago.

    He deserves the current torture he is going through.

  22. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    ===Leave it to Trump to make me feel bad for Blago…===

    That and Joe Walsh being the logical Republican on twitter is just a sign that we are in bizaro world.

  23. - Steve - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    I think President Trump should talk to Senator Durbin on this subject before making a decision. Along with other elected Illinois politicians.

  24. - Yep - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    Yep he’s been separated from his children, cue the outcry and let him go.

  25. - R A T - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    I know I am a mean person and I normally hate everything about this Pres but I am thoroughly enjoying the way he is playing with Blago. Hope it continues.

  26. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    ===He deserves the current torture he is going through.===

    Couldn’t agree more. We should all step back and let karma do its thing.

  27. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:13 pm:

    When you put your kids’ hopes in the hands of a man who puts kids in cages, there’s a good chance your kids are gonna get hurt.

    I feel terrible for all the families subjected to Trump’s cruelty — but the Blajogevich family is near the bottom of that list.

    – MrJM

  28. - Rachel - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    Agree completely with MrJM.
    And I hope he doesn’t get out.

  29. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    I wonder how it feels to ask and wait for mercy from a man without empathy, who never does anything for anyone unless there’s an advantage for himself.

    Pot meet kettle.

  30. - Just Peachy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    Trump needs to mind his own business.

  31. - DER - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    While the Republican Members of Congress are undoubtedly wise in their messaging to President Trump given their constituencies, it does seem as if Gov. Blagojevich’s release from prison would actually be a boost to the Illinois GOP. Having a wildly unpopular and unfiltered Democrat back in Illinois settling old scores — mostly with his own party — would create a spectacle that would likely benefit Illinois Republicans politically. I want to be clear that that’s not a comment on the morality of the situation, just on the politics, and of course nobody from the Illinois Republican Party is going to publicly advocate for Blagojevich’s release just to sow chaos among Illinois Democrats. But they might whisper it.

  32. - A guy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    == he was extorting the children’s hospital for campaign money ==

    I’ve never understood the distinction between this being a Children’s Hospital vs. a VA Hospital, any other kind of hospital or something that wasn’t a hospital. He was greedy. That’s where the money was. He went there. He shouldn’t have. He’s paid a heavy price. Holding any person or place hostage for a campaign contribution is lousy.

  33. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    He should finish his sentence. He tried to sell a US Senate position.

    @Misterjayem is correct as usual.

  34. - Wylie Coyote - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    Keep him locked up. I hear Colorado is nice this time of year….

  35. - Wylie Coyote - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    Oh, and I really thought he would have a better tan than his picture showed. At least when he was governor he spent more time on the back deck of the Mansion soaking up the sun than he did in any strategic meeting with legislative leadership.

  36. - Seenitall - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    Hmm, I wonder what Trump administration position Rod will be appointed to if he gets out soon?

  37. - Pundent - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 5:23 pm:

    The only reason commutation is even being discussed is due to Blagojevich’s notoriety. Most inmates don’t have the benefit of that and are resigned to serve out their sentences while their families suffer. Like all thing Trump he’ll decide to do something when he feels it benefits him. He has no regard for the governor of his family. And spare me the comments on the “11 year nightmare.” Blagojevich sits in jail because of his own actions. His wife was fortunate enough to be spared.

  38. - Generic Drone - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 6:25 pm:

    Seems to me Blago had no problem using people and influence to further his causes. Now Trump is using Blago. Karma dude abides.

  39. - Froganon - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 7:33 pm:

    I have zero concern or sympathy for Blago or his family. Trump is taking a page from the Blago playbook when Gov. B had the power to help people and heal families. Their frustration and grief is as richly deserved as the 14 year sentence. Can’t wait to hear the lamants when the Trump Family Crime Syndicate is serving their time.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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