* 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.
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.
* 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.