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President, chief of staff were both unaware of important Blagojevich facts

Thursday, Aug 15, 2019

* Chris Kaergard at the Journal Star

“To me, Blagojevich is the definition of the swamp.”

That was part of the message U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood conveyed to President Donald Trump last Thursday in a phone call, hours after the president had suggested he was “strongly” considering commuting the 14-year prison sentence of disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich. […]

LaHood’s call was made to emphasize objections Illinois Republican lawmakers had to releasing Blagojevich roughly halfway through his time behind bars. LaHood detailed the case he made to Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney during an interview Wednesday morning in his Downtown Peoria office.

“If you look at the conduct Blagojevich engaged in, it was pervasive, it was extensive,” he said, noting that it wasn’t just political favor-trading over a Senate seat, but rather a litany of malfeasance: “shaking down the children’s hospital, racetrack owner, film producer, the direct pay-for-play politics.”

* The level of ignorance about the Blagojevich case is simply astounding

Reps. Darin LaHood and Mike Bost, made their case directly to the President on Thursday night, urging him not to go forward. They laid out the litany of crimes Blagojevich committed while in office and argued it would send the wrong message to voters about corruption by public officials.

Trump’s response: “I wish I had the perspective before,” according to Bost, who served on the Illinois House’s impeachment committee to remove Blagojevich from office in 2009. […]

Multiple sources familiar with the calls said Trump and [White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney] both did not seem aware of the details of Blagojevich’s case, even though the President had decried the former governor as being treated “unbelievably unfairly.”

Bost said that while Trump “saw a sentence that didn’t meet the crime … he did express he wished he had the perspective earlier” after speaking with Bost.

* Fox 32

“Listen, I don’t think the President understood the extensive nature of the public corruption that Rod Blagojevich had engaged in. And when I laid that out for him, I think he was surprised by those facts. But I think he listened,” said Rep. LaHood.

* More

Since Trump is fixated on former FBI director James Comey, LaHood also emphasized that he had nothing to do with prosecuting Blagojevich.

LaHood also noted that Democrats Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot are against clemency.

“They were surprised to know that and that Democrats removed him from office,” he said.


* Related…

* State seeks to disbar ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich from practicing law more than 8 years after conviction: Grogan said the delay in moving to disbar Blagojevich came because, by Illinois law, regulators have to wait until all appellate options are over before moving to permanently revoke a lawyer’s license.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    Trump and Jared are not “well read” folks, and rarely care to be up to speed *before* rash decisions.

    This was one time where it caught them looking that way, publicly.

  2. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    Trump didn’t win Illinois and never will, thus it is in his blind spot…unless he can use it to mock Democrats in some way.

    I miss having a President.

  3. - Linus - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    Sadly, entirely consistent with the capability and approach of this entire Administration, as demonstrated on an hourly basis.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    To the Chief or Staff Mulvaney,

    It’s a question of sanity and balance;

    How much insanity can the White House stand to keep the President balanced enough to do… anything.

    When insanity creeps into the decisions, the balance, whatever it is that runs that West Wing, is thrown.

  5. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    We already knew the president is not an intelligent or curious man. The same goes for his sycophants like Mulvaney apparently.

  6. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:04 am:

    “Patti Blagojevich conned us” is a solid defense that will get you a lot of sympathy in Illinois, President Trump.

  7. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:04 am:

    If Trump can be this clueless before making a public statement or tweet on this matter, I would assume he is equally clueless about everything else he talks about.

  8. - Bertrum Cates - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:04 am:

    Not to mention the NRCC needs the former Governor to still be in-play for direct mail pieces and TV spots between now and next fall.

  9. - Responsa - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    Patti sells a good story. Rod can be charming in person. Hopefully, now that the other side of the “Blago story” story has also been heard the president will not act on this.

  10. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:09 am:

    It’s a laugh riot reading LaHood and Bost talking as if they didn’t realize that Trump is ignorant of facts. It’s public knowledge that Trump doesn’t bother with facts.

    As for LaHood’s definition of “swamp,” it includes a provision that it only applies to Dems. If it didn’t he and other GOP congressmen would be trying to clean out the super swamp that has become the Trump administration.

  11. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    I am not surprised at any of the info in the post. The decision was being made strictly to reinforce a particular dislike of Comey and because Patti played to someone’s’ ego.

    What I am surprised about is that these legislators actually made a phone call about this of all topics. This is the hill they actually chose to stand on? None of the other serious topics affecting Illinois on the last 2.5 years?

  12. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    I am not surprised at this level of ignorance nor at Mrs Blagojevich’s ability to con the grifters.

  13. - Jocko - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    ==I wish I had the perspective before==

    Past presidents sought information (or, heaven forbid, read briefings) to inform their perspective rather than have television pundits tell you what to think.

  14. - Terry Salad - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:29 am:

    Trump is unintelligent and does not read. Even so, I doubt Trump will followup on this. He needed some distraction from his many other slow-moving disasters. I think he’ll leave Blago twisting in the wind.

  15. - {Sigh} - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    Haven’t the Dems argued for sentence reductions (even passed laws)…. Yet, Blago should stay in jail {sigh} I wouldn’t want to serve on a jury with some of these people saying Blago was a bad person (mainly bc he didn’t agree with their policies) so he should stay in jail.

  16. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    Look folks, when it comes to the Blagojevich trial and conviction, you had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

  17. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:43 am:

    “Haven’t the Dems argued for sentence reductions (even passed laws)” Yes, but for things like possession.

  18. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    Probably the most salient “fact” they could present to Trump is that nobody, Republican or Democrat, outside of his family is really clamoring for his release. He would probably upset more people than not. If there is nothing in it for him politically, other than a few days of deflection, why do it?

  19. - Roadrager - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    Looks like Patti will have to get a couple of segments on Tucker and Hannity, so we can go through this sequence of events again in October and November.

    The entirety of this White House’s intelligence on Blagojevich was a) how he acted on the president’s TV show and b) what was said about him on the president’s favorite TV channel. This is probably the extent of relevant knowledge on most other matters in the White House, as well.

  20. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    But, but, but, Rod was on Celebrity Apprentice. In Trumpworld that’s more important than innocence or guilt, right or wrong.

  21. - Smalls - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good tweet.

  22. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    I don’t think the President is a big details guy. He doesn’t make decisions based on any sort of intelligent, rational thinking.

  23. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    Explaining political history to this President is a losing effort…for a lost cause.

  24. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    This is what happens we allow Play Actors into our White House…from Death Valley Days to Celebrity Apprentice…a continuing American tragedy…continues unto ruin?…or…redemption?

  25. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    This is what happens (when) we allow Play Actors into our White House…from Death Valley Days to Celebrity Apprentice…a continuing American tragedy…continues unto ruin?…or…redemption?

  26. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    ==This is what happens (when) we allow Play Actors into our White House…from Death Valley Days to Celebrity Apprentice…a continuing American tragedy…continues unto ruin?…or…redemption?==

    You left out “Community Organizers”.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===You left out “Community Organizers”.===

    Is this “both sides” kinda thinking?

  28. - Vince Glothor - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    The President was trying to get his daughter off the front pages in Chicago. He threw out the commutation to help his favorite daughter.
    Always with the misdirects…

  29. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    ==Is this “both sides” kinda thinking?==

    I like to call them the “Yeah, but” crowd.

  30. - Redness - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    If you people want to talk about ignorance then you only need to ask yourselves if you believed in the Russian Collusion narrative and for how long did you believe in that farcical nonsense?

  31. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 2:39 pm:


    Mr. Trump thanks you for your support. And so does Vladimir Putin.

  32. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    ==“They were surprised to know that and that Democrats removed him from office,” he said.==

    Each day that goes by it amazes me how more and more comes out about just how incompetent and unfit the man is to be President.

  33. - olddog - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    Looks like Rodney Davis kind of missed a chance to stand up for “downstate values” against the big bad Chicato Democrats. His absence is conspicuous.

  34. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    Blago operated in the public sphere just like Trump did in the private and now the public sphere. Of course Trump doesn’t see anything that wrong with it.

    Think LaHood and Bost made that point to Trump?

  35. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 4:15 pm:

    You left out “Community Organizers”.

    No,I didn’t.

  36. - Bilbo Swaggins - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 4:47 pm:

    Imagine having to sit down with Trump and explain anything to him. Imagine having to coddle his ego long enough to get him to understand a concept more complicated than a big mac because otherwise he won’t talk or listen to you.

  37. - Anonanonsir - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 5:32 pm:

    Most of what we’re hearing about Blago is coming from Illinois elected officials. For most elected officials, there’s very little upside to supporting Blago’s release, even if they think privately that the sentence is too harsh.
    I noticed, though, that Patti and Bobby Rush were together at the parade last weekend.
    Maybe it’s time to hear from others such as ministers, community organizers, or other prominent people. And a poll on the subject might be illuminating.

  38. - Pundent - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 5:44 pm:

    Trump is easily swayed because the only principle he operates on is “what’s in it for me?” Clearly he saw some personal benefit in floating the idea of commuting Blagojevich’s sentence. Maybe it was done to distract or push a narrative on how corrupt the DOJ is. All it took was someone to put the bug in his ear that it could be bad for him to get him to change his tune. But that’s a day to day thing. Tomorrow he could be back to talking about how Blago is being treated unfairly.

  39. - Annon3 - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 6:12 pm:

    Need to change topic, trot out Patti and Rod, mission accomplished. Rinse Repeat

  40. - JoanP - Thursday, Aug 15, 19 @ 7:17 pm:

    =But that’s a day to day thing. Tomorrow he could be back to talking about how Blago is being treated unfairly. =

    He didn’t wait until tomorrow.

    “We’re looking at it. I feel very badly. I think he was very harshly sentenced, but we’re looking at it very strongly. People feel very strongly about that.”

  41. - lost in the weeds - Friday, Aug 16, 19 @ 1:03 am:

    Jared is reported to have requested a pardon.

  42. - Austinman - Friday, Aug 16, 19 @ 8:12 am:

    Let the man go home, geesh I’ve seen some people get less time for harsher stuff.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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