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*** UPDATED x7 - Durbin dodges - ILGOP delegation opposes - Former prosecutors weigh in - Pritzker responds - Trump confirms Blagojevich commutation *** Question of the day

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2020

* I’ll believe it when I see it because the president came pretty close to commutation months ago and was talked out of it by the Illinois GOP delegation…


* The Question: Do you support or oppose a presidential commutation for Rod Blagojevich? Please make sure to explain your position.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Some initial react…


*** UPDATE 2 *** NY Times says it’s a done deal

President Trump has commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, the Democrat who was convicted of trying to essentially sell President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat for personal gain, according to a person briefed on the decision.

Mr. Trump commuted the former governor’s sentence on Tuesday and is planning on announcing it soon, taking the action after saying for years that he was considering intervening in Mr. Blagojevich’s case.

By commuting the sentence, the president would free Mr. Blagojevich from prison without wiping out the conviction. Republicans have advised the president against it, arguing that Mr. Blagojevich’s crime epitomizes the corruption that Mr. Trump had said he wanted to tackle as president.

*** UPDATE 3 *** The president confirms…


…Adding… Common Cause Illinois Executive Director Jay Young…

While former Governor Rod Blagojevich will get to walk free, Illinois is still being held prisoner to the consequences of his long record of corruption, bribery, and abuse of power. President Trump’s commutation of Blagojevich’s sentence is the latest action by a lawless president to undermine ethics and accountability in our government. This decision is wrong and deprives the people of Illinois the justice they deserve. After consistently ignoring our nation’s ethics norms and laws for the last three years, President Trump has now chosen to side with the long line of Illinois politicians that have been imprisoned or had their careers ended due to corruption.

…Adding… Comptroller Mendoza…

No surprise. Birds of a feather flock together.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Gov. Pritzker…

Illinoisans have endured far too much corruption, and we must send a message to politicians that corrupt practices will no longer be tolerated. President Trump has abused his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption, and I deeply believe this pardon sends the wrong message at the wrong time. I’m committed to continuing to take clear and decisive steps this spring to prevent politicians from using their offices for personal gain, and I will continue to approach this work with that firm conviction.

*** UPDATE 5 *** Press release…

STATEMENT OF FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTION TRIAL TEAM AND FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY REGARDING PRESIDENTIAL COMMUTATION IN U.S. V. BLAGOJEVICH

Reid J. Schar
Chris Niewoehner
Hon. Carrie E. Hamilton
Patrick J. Fitzgerald

CHICAGO ― The following statement was issued today regarding the President’s commutation of the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich:

    “Although the President has exercised his lawful authority to commute the remaining portion of Mr. Blagojevich’s prison sentence, Mr. Blagojevich remains a felon, convicted of multiple serious acts of corruption as governor. The criminal conduct for which a jury unanimously convicted Mr. Blagojevich included the following actions:

    (1) extorting the CEO of a children’s hospital by withholding important state funding to help sick children until the CEO provided campaign contributions;
    (2) extorting the owners of a racetrack by intentionally holding up the signing of important state legislation until the owners provided campaign contributions in response to an explicit demand for them;
    (3) extortionately demanding funding for a high-paying private sector job, as well as campaign contributions, in exchange for naming a replacement to an open U.S. Senate seat; and
    (4) lying to the FBI to cover up his criminal activity.

    The law and extensive facts underlying Mr. Blagojevich’s conviction were reviewed by independent judges on an appellate court and by the Supreme Court of the United States. These courts affirmed Mr. Blagojevich’s conviction and sentence, and the appellate court described the evidence against him as “overwhelming.”

    Extortion by a public official is a very serious crime, routinely prosecuted throughout the United States whenever, as here, it can be detected and proven. That has to be the case in America: a justice system must hold public officials accountable for corruption. It would be unfair to their victims and the public to do otherwise.

    While the President has the power to reduce Mr. Blagojevich’s sentence, the fact remains that the former governor was convicted of very serious crimes. His prosecution serves as proof that elected officials who betray those they are elected to serve will be held to account.”

Mr. Schar, Mr. Niewoehner, and Judge Hamilton are former Assistant United States Attorneys in Chicago who represented the government at trial in U.S.A. v. Blagojevich. Mr. Fitzgerald was the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois during the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Blagojevich. This statement is issued in their individual capacities.

…Adding… Jason Gerwig with Leader Brady’s office…

Leader Brady believes the sentence former Governor Rod Blagojevich received was justified and should have been served in its entirety.

*** UPDATE 6 *** Press release…

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 after the President commuted the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

“We are disappointed by the President’s commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s federal sentence. We believe he received an appropriate and fair sentence, which was the low-end of the federal sentencing guidelines for the gravity of his public corruption convictions. Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois, and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters. As our state continues to grapple with political corruption, we shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook. History will not judge Rod Blagojevich well.”

*** UPDATE 7 *** Sen. Durbin has said he would support commutation for Blagojevich. But here’s what he said on commutation day…

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after President Donald Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich:

“Former Governor Blagojevich betrayed the people of Illinois and engaged in a pattern of corrupt behavior for which he was held accountable and which cost him more than seven years of freedom.

“At a time when corruption by elected officials is still in the headlines, Illinois and Washington should move quickly to establish stricter ethics requirements, including the full detailed disclosure of income, net worth, and income tax returns by all elected officials.”

…Adding… From a Durbin spokesperson…

Senator Durbin has never lobbied any President to commute former Governor Blagojevich’s sentence.

…Adding… Press release…

Statement from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs on President Donald Trump Granting Clemency to Former Governor Rod Blagojevich

“Eleven years ago, I voted to convict and remove a member of my own party who abused his office to further his own re‑election.

I wish that Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate had shown similar courage when a leader in their party abused his office to further his own re-election.

If that had happened, we would not be dealing with this today.

It is some comfort, however, that my motion to bar our former governor from ever holding public office again means he will no longer be able to abuse the public trust.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

194 Comments
  1. - Pawar Lost. - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    I support it. George Ryan received a lesser sentence and his crimes were just as bad. God Bless the Willis Children.

    Also he’s not being pardoned.


  2. - G'Kar - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    Oppose–he was found guilty and deserves to serve out his sentence.


  3. - Oak Parker - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    I don’t mind him getting out of jail at this point, but it would be nice if he didn’t come back to Illinois.


  4. - Ok - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    Poor JB, can’t get his own news cycle for the life of him.


  5. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:55 am:

    Strongly oppose. Fair investigation, fair trial, fair sentence, totally unrepentant, does not own up the damage he caused.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    I support his release.

    I fully oppose every single reason this POTUS is going to use to justify it.

    Looking forward to all the elected Trumpkins/Raunerites having to discuss the cult of personality POTUS and this pardon inside that context.

    Hilarity will ensue.


  7. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    I suspect the President is considering a commutation for Blagojevich only as cover for a pardon of Roger Stone and/or Paul Manafort.

    Therefore I am opposed.


  8. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    Not really. If he wants to show contrition, then fine. This may play into Trump’s heavy handed DOJ narrative, but no officials of either party back here are really clamoring for it. Probably thinks Blago unleashed will “own the libs.”


  9. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:57 am:

    I am in favor of it.

    As much as I feel he should serve out his full term, at this point the way the man and his family have been taunted in this process over the years I feel that has added sufficiently to his punishment.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:58 am:

    === Blagojevich only as cover for a pardon of Roger Stone and/or Paul Manafort.===

    All three pardoned as a symbolic way to both cover the sins of all by making it a gumbo, also diluting each crime individually they did.

    Concur.


  11. - Cook street - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:58 am:

    Let him out. He is a bad guy but he’s already served longer than similar bad guys have served. Sentence seemed excessive from the start.


  12. - JSI - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:58 am:

    The Congressional Delegation opposes it for political reasons. This Republican supports it for moral reasons. He has done his time.


  13. - Streator Curmudgeon - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 11:59 am:

    I also support his release. The sentence was excessive in the first place.

    Sentencing should be based on the crime, not how obnoxious the defendant is.


  14. - OurMagician - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    Oppose-he has not shown nor will he one bit of contrition for what he did. And there is no reason other than Trump looking out for Trump is he doing this. This gives cover to pardon/commute Stone/Manafort and his children and himself before he leaves office.


  15. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    I support Blago’s commutation. Blago’s actions were despicable, but he will soon have served 8 years now, which is a long time and fair sentence for his crimes. 14 years was excessive.


  16. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    I don’t know that a commutation from Trump is redemption. At this point, it probably doesn’t matter. But, I think it’s wrong to put his family through false hope over and over again if this doesn’t come about.


  17. - Fav human - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    Oppose. Long sentences fully served out will hopefully be a deterrent.

    just because other got less doesn’t mean he should not serve out his full sentence.


  18. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    Support. The dude did enough time, more than some very serious crimes. Let him go back to his family.

    Plus, it would be precious for the ILGOP to try to attack Democrats on corruption this election but have their Supreme Leader let a Democratic crook out of jail.

    Would Blago show gratitude by going MAGA? That would be hysterical.


  19. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    ===That would be hysterical===

    He told me that he voted for Reagan both times, so it wouldn’t be unusual for him to support a Republican.


  20. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    I support. Sentence excessive. However if he does not get out this hope there is no more talk about it. It is starting to be cruel for family


  21. - Rudy's teeth - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:09 pm:

    Oppose. If he is released, Blago will be in front of the nearest microphone way too soon. A condition of his release should include no interviews.


  22. - RH - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    Support. Punishment should be the crime. Fourteen years was excessive and more about sending a message than justice.


  23. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:14 pm:

    Sentence incredibly excessive… unfortunately will be used as an example supporting other actions where that is not the case.


  24. - Cheswick - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:14 pm:

    Sure, but only if Kwame Kilpatrick also gets a commutation.


  25. - proudstatetrooper - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Support on one condition. Forbid him from traveling the talk show circuit whining about his innocence and the big bad US Attorneys who maliciously prosecuted him.


  26. - lakeside - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Oppose. Betrayal of the public trust put in our elected officials in their role as a public servant is one of the worst things you can do.

    And, as others have pointed out, this is just another pardon/commutation that’s designed to help out the politically connected/Fox News interviewees and as a cover for the president and his cronies’ similar betrayals.


  27. - Benjamin - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    Oppose. Exploiting his powers as governor for his personal benefit is outrageous, and the last three years shouldn’t dull us to how outrageous it is. Blago hasn’t shown any contrition or made (to my knowledge) any attempts to make amends.

    If he has to get some gift from Trump, let it be that the rest of his sentence has to be served under house arrest or something. He’s done nothing to deserve a full pardon.


  28. - Original Rambler - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:17 pm:

    Support. Sentence was excessive compared to others who committed similar infractions. Plus Zagel was obligated to reduce the original sentence when it was sent back to him from the Appellate Court and did not do so. That made it clear he was taking his personal dislike of Rod into account rather than considering the crimes he was found guilty of.


  29. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:17 pm:

    ==Would Blago show gratitude by going MAGA?==

    A corrupt, impeached ex-governor campaigning with a corrupt, impeached president? I don’t see how that helps Trump.


  30. - driving a car - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    Oppose. I may be in the minority but I think that the sentence Blago received was totally fair.

    Everyone mentions his kids/wife and while I totally feel for them and regret they’re growing up without him in their life — having a loving family doesn’t give you carte blanche to be corrupt and get away with it.


  31. - West Side the Best Side - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    Oppose it. A corrupt governor’s sentence being commuted by a corrupt president with no respect for the rule of law. Blago won’t get a pardon though because he was only corrupt, not a war criminal or traitor which is the type of person who currently get pardons.


  32. - Montrose - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    The Dems are still trying to figure out who their presidential nominee will be. I see no reason Blago shouldn’t jump in. /s


  33. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    I would only support this if Rod demonstrates contrition and apologizes for his conduct. He won’t so I oppose.


  34. - Joe Bidenopolous - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:23 pm:

    I know and personally despise Rod. He did terrible things and has shown no contrition. But, I still feel like his sentence was excessive and that 8 years is probably enough, so I’m on board. And I’d definitely co-sign on wanting to watch him go full MAGA. Will it be cover for Stone/Manafort? It may be, but if that happens it was always gonna happen no matter what.


  35. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    I’m opposed to it. I have great respect for the judicial system and little regard for those who attempt to make a mockery of it and that would include both Blagojevich and Trump.

    The determination of what is “fair” is one that should be left to the courts and not based on public opinion or the notoriety of the defendant. The appellate court has done a thorough review of the case and deemed the evidence of guilt “overwhelming.” If they’re satisfied with the sentencing than I’m not sure what basis I would have to disagree.

    Finally, I think that pardons and commutations should only be granted to correct clear cases of injustice not for purely political reasons. There are plenty of defendants who may argue that their sentences were unfair and/or excessive. Blagojevich’s case gets attention because of his notoriety and that in and of itself does not make him any more worthy than anyone else that’s been incarcerated. A commutation from Trump would not be based on compassion. It would be nothing more than a political calculation for Trump’s personal benefit.


  36. - Flat Bed Ford - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    Support. I look forward to Blago in front of a microphone and often as possible.


  37. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:27 pm:

    Will never support this pardon. There has never been any expression of contrition for his actions. Blago is a drumpf mini-me wannabe.


  38. - SSL - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    I support it. No fan of Blago, but sentence was excessive.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===I look forward to Blago in front of a microphone and often as possible.===

    Every suburban legislator running on the former GOP side, will face the real;

    Trump pardoned Blago. The party accepting and pardoning corruption is the party of Trump.

    I don’t think a single GOP elected will want to be anywhere near Blago or Blago’s gratitude for Trump.


  40. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    == Support. I look forward to Blago in front of a microphone and often as possible. ==

    The thing is, with the current circuses, I suspect he wouldn’t be that interesting anymore.


  41. - ZC - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    Oppose. Don’t get the claims, really, the punishment was excessive. Corruption by a high ranking government official like a governor is quite bad, for all kinds of reasons. Throw in as people have noted that he showed all the contrition of a hyena, and I just don’t see the case for mercy.


  42. - Responsa - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    I neither support nor oppose the commutation but I am OK with it. Like some others I had hoped that the long sentence and humiliation of Blago might at least serve as a wake up call or deterrent to other pols, but events in the ensuing eight years (and especially recently) show there was no deterrent effect.


  43. - Levois - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    I’m indifferent to it now. Go ahead and commute his sentence. Unless he wants to go back to congress he won’t be running for anything in this state. I get the feeling his time in “club fed”? hasn’t done much for his rehabilitation…


  44. - So of 64 - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    Support. Time served is a lot longer than others have served for worse crimes.


  45. - Once Wijcek - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    Blago is no Reagan Republican and he is not a Trump Republican either.
    He rose to Governor on the efforts of Establishment and Machine Democrats. Madigan co-chaired his reelection campaign and Gov. Pritzker was giving him (bad) political advice literally right up to the moment Blago was arrested. There are tapes of it for gosh sakes.
    If this commutation poses a problem for either party it’s the Dems.


  46. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:34 pm:

    Has Blago accepted his guilt? Isn’t that usually a requirement of commutation?


  47. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    === Madigan co-chaired his reelection campaign===

    … and voted with 116 other House members to impeach.

    Sorry, thought you forgot that. My bad.


  48. - Anonasaur - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    Wow talk about a split comments section. I throw my hat in with the support crew. From all that I’ve read, Blago has been a model inmate. I don’t have a huge stake in the matter one way or the other though.


  49. - Sue - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    Support- not a pardon but recognition that his sentence was kind of extreme. Blagojovich totally irritated Zagel with his antics but Zagel was wrong to allow his hostility to enter into the sentence he imposed


  50. - TheGoodLieutenant - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    Support - Sentence was excessive from the get go but more importantly, our prison systems are overcrowded and should generally be housing violent offenders.


  51. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    I always thought Rod had the book thrown at him above and beyond other crook pols in large part because he lacked/had alienated powerful people to the point he had no one of note to vouch for him in letters at the time of sentencing. I suppose him getting an unearned break from Trump is just the flip side of that corrupt way of handling punishment of famous, prominent people in our justice system.

    So I guess on the scale of Trump outrages this one bothers me less when Rod has already done many years of hard time.

    That said it’s kind of amazing that his decision to show zero contrition and go on Celebrity Apprentice when facing trial… paid off as a legal strategy?


  52. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:38 pm:

    I don’t see how you can favor commuting this guy’s sentence with all the federal investigations going on here right now.


  53. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===of hard time===

    lol


  54. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    === I don’t see how you can favor commuting this guy’s sentence with all the federal investigations going on here right now.===

    I oppose the rationale both here in Illinois and the things being investigated in DC and elsewhere pertaining to corruption. Heck, this White House wants corruption to seem ordinary and non consequential.

    Blago hit a perfect storm, Patty played it out on Fox News.

    Its the worst time and way to get his commutation, but probably the only way it could ever come to be?


  55. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:44 pm:

    Per the NYT it’s a done deal. Lol, fun times may be coming for ILGOP messaging, that their leader is letting the poster child of Illinois Democratic corruption out of jail.


  56. - Jose Abreu's Next Homerun - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    Oh Rod! https://politics.theonion.com/rod-blagojevich-trying-to-sell-presidential-commutation-1837076931


  57. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:48 pm:

    Dear Leader Durkin,

    How’s all that “district politics” gonna taste when the eastern bloc types will still be in total sync with Trump as Trump has now pardoned Blago, and all but blunted the “corruption of Dems” angle you’d like to play?

    Tasty?

    Probably not.


  58. - 19th Ward Guy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:49 pm:

    He extort a children’s hospital for campaign donations. Per the sentencing memo the sentence was in line with other convicted elected officials. He lied and obstructed justice. The guideline range was 30 years. The government asked for 15 to 20 and he got 14.5. The law was changed in 2004 to enhance sentences for corrupt public officials. And somehow this sentence unfair????? The world has lost its mind


  59. - 19th Ward Guy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    And Dear Oswego—do you think Rod is going keep his mouth shut on Illinois Democrats? This is the last thing they want.


  60. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    Oppose.

    There is somewhat of a falicy that white collar crime is less serious than other types of crime. Even the name itself implies that.

    If successful Blagojevich would have harmed children by siphoning funds from a children’s hospital. Who knows what damage the sale of a US Senate seat could have done. I make no apologies for wanting more serious penalties for these types of crime.


  61. - Cheswick - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    = NY Times says it’s a done deal… =

    Can’t wait to hear Rodney Davis and Darin Lahood go praise Trump for this./s/


  62. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:53 pm:

    ===do you think Rod is going keep his mouth shut on Illinois Democrats?===

    lol

    You think he knows of some illegal activities or something that he’s kept quiet about all these years? Seriously?


  63. - WH Mess - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:53 pm:

    Ladies and gentlemen, your next ambassador to Serbia …


  64. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    - 19th Ward Guy -

    Trump commuted a man every Dem, less one (his sister in law) voted to impeach and remove.

    An entire General Assembly.

    Trump commuted.

    Trump isn’t about evading corruption, Trump now rewards folks, “who did it right, served some time”

    Can’t change that, lol


  65. - lakeside - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    Definitely excited to see Republicans go to the mat for this commutation of a corrupt, swampy Illinois Democrat because he was on Dear Leader’s tv show.


  66. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    Like the President Blagojevich will claim that he’s been the victim in all of this. He’ll run the same playbook that Trump has been using claiming that the process was incredibly unfair, a hoax, and a witch hunt. And Republicans will do and say nothing.


  67. - Steve Rogers - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    Oppose: It’s unfortunate we live in a world where well connected people get special treatment in the justice system. Blago was sentenced and took all his appeals for naught. Just because he’s friends with the president shouldn’t overturn what the judiciary decided–several times.


  68. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    Oppose. State corruption is rampant. Federal corruption is growing.


  69. - 19th Ward Guy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    Yes I do.


  70. - Jocko - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    Strongly oppose. I want to remind everyone who pulls the “sentence was excessive” card needs to be reminded Blago had opportunities to show remorse or name names…both things he chose NOT to do.


  71. - The Historian - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    I’d vote ‘reluctantly support.’ No one (I think) has yet mentioned his wife and kids & I suspect his children will do better with their father in their lives. This matters, & it IS just commutation.


  72. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    From one impeached executive to another, Trump is making a deposit in the Karma bank for when he ends up behind bars.


  73. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    I guess I’m confused.

    If Raunerites and Trunpkins want justice, you know with all the “Democrat” corruption… how can you be pleased that Trump commuted the sentence of Blago, even going as far as blaming the prosecution of Blago.

    Tastes kinda sour, doesn’t it?

    Trump says corruption is a witch hunt, including Rod.


  74. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:05 pm:

    I oppose because, as others have said, he’s never shown any sort of remorse or acknowledgement that what he did was wrong.

    I also oppose because of the reason that the President has given for his commutation - that he sees nothing wrong with what he did.


  75. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:05 pm:

    Rich — How about a separate blog post on what Rod’s second act is gonna look like (e.g. cable news commentator, Trump surrogate on the trail, etc.)?


  76. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:07 pm:

    == I don’t see how you can favor commuting this guy’s sentence with all the federal investigations going on here right now. ==

    Think you know I have never, ever been a Rod fan. Considering how he was treated with this intermittent commutation thing, I am ok with him getting out now. If anyone is trying to take into account consistent action by the federal executive branch as part of their plan for dealing with the feds, they need better lawyers.

    I am missing how this is going to have much impact on the on-going federal investigations. Not saying you are wrong about that, I just am missing the how.


  77. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:08 pm:

    =No one (I think) has yet mentioned his wife and kids & I suspect his children will do better with their father in their lives.=

    Probably not mentioned because it doesn’t make Blagojevich different than most prisoners. Just because we’ve seen or heard his family on TV doesn’t make it noteworthy or create a compelling reason to diminish his sentence.


  78. - Maryjane - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:11 pm:

    Could Blogojevich now face a civil lawsuit?


  79. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:12 pm:

    It does not bother me. The man served eight years for his crimes and was not a violent criminal. I would feel differently if it were a pardon rather than a commutation.


  80. - Ginhouse Tommy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:14 pm:

    Makes you wonder what his prosecutors have to say about this.


  81. - Doc Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    Strongly oppose. No politician should pardon another politician for political corruption. It signals that political corruption doesn’t matter. It sets a precedent that others will see as protecting them in case they get caught. It’s fundamentally different from other uses of the pardoning/commuting power. Even if you think Blago has served enough time, you can’t commute his sentence.

    This would apply even if it wasn’t Trump, who is working daily to corrupt the DOJ and federal courts.


  82. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:16 pm:

    How soon will it be before “Uncle Johnny” says…

    “It’s a witch hunt against Trump. Look what they did to Rod, and Trump pardoned him, impeachment and corruption is whatever your enemies say”

    This commutation is awful for Illinois, the thoughts of the GOP here, the current and ongoing investigations, and to the rule of law and this thought that Rod was impeached, removed, tried, convicted, and the discussion is still about prosecutors?

    The former GOP needs to do much more than what Leader Durkin said and start closing their yaps about corruption things until they distance themselves from this Blago thing, less they look hollow to any investigation, even ones already measured, cut, and deposed of with sentence.


  83. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    Is blago’s first stop a hair salon for a dye job?


  84. - Regulator - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    Support. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. Blago’s conduct here was bad,(and his administration and governorship was worse), but the prison sentence was greatly excessive. He deserved 2-4 years, not 14 years.


  85. - Randolph House - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    Oppose.
    But I do not think this will have any impact on any state or local election and I don’t think it means Republicans or Democrats can’t still speak out against corruption.

    It’s an interesting development. That’s all.


  86. - Angry Republican - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    Not only do I oppose the commutation, I thought his prison sentence was too short. Blago did way more damage to IL than 90% of the prison inmates in IL that have been behind bars for more than 10 years.


  87. - fs - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:21 pm:

    == No one (I think) has yet mentioned his wife and kids & I suspect his children will do better with their father in their lives.==

    The kids I have sympathy for. The wife? If not for the kids, she’s lucky she wasn’t charged too. She knew everything that was going on. No sympathy there.


  88. - Red Dog - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:22 pm:

    Support. He was the worst governor I ever worked for. However, the sentence was excessive. He will never be a public official or lawyer again. He served enough time and won’t impact the citizens of Illinois. His family has been separated long enough.


  89. - Practical Politics - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:23 pm:

    Blagojevich was guilty and does not deserve a pardon. The commutation of his sentence reflects the fact that his sentence was excessively long. By all accounts, he has been a model prisoner while in confinement.


  90. - Lake Effect - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:24 pm:

    I wonder what his numbers against Quigley are.


  91. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    On a different note, has anyone updated the
    Number of Former Governors in Jail sign yet?


  92. - Charlie Brown - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    What no react from Senator Bill Brady regarding corrupt one- Party Rule?


  93. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    I support commuting the sentence which was too long. We was guilty no doubt and was rightfully impeached and convicted of bad crimes. Do they justify 14 years? They do not.


  94. - Martin Harvey - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    = Forbid him from traveling the talk show circuit whining about his innocence and the big bad US Attorneys who maliciously prosecuted him. =

    *This* is the agenda - opponent party also crying FBI corruption; all part of Trump’s campaign to show all law enforcement in the US is corrupt. Good money to be made, and immoral actions to be performed, within chaos.


  95. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    === She knew everything that was going on===

    Yep.

    “Don’t give me the babe-in-the-woods routine, Karen. I’ve listened to those wiretaps”


  96. - bogey golfer - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    Completely oppose. Blago will now write his memoirs, go on the talk show circuit, and continue to be unrepentant.


  97. - pool boy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    Oppose. His administration was mean-spirited and self-centered. He is an arrogant, corrupt human being. He can’t stay in jail long enough for me.


  98. - A Guy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    Support with one hopeful caveat.
    Always thought this sentence was too long, but he was indeed guilty as sin for all he was convicted of (and some he wasn’t)
    His smirk and arrogance doubled the time. While miserable behavior, it didn’t add up to 14 years.

    The caveat: What does (never to be referred to again as Governor) Rod do with this chance he’s been given? That’ll go a long way in determining whether this was the right thing to do. Many pardoned and commuted people have rewarded the pardoner/commuter with behavior befitting the mercy.

    Mercy sakes Rod, be one of those.


  99. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    === She knew everything that was going on===

    Her own thoughts on the Cubs and Tribune are… “Golden”


  100. - Bernie Epton RIP - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    Blago got pardoned? JB needs to edit that press release.


  101. - Doc Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    == No one (I think) has yet mentioned his wife and kids & I suspect his children will do better with their father in their lives.==

    So I’m a father too. Does that mean that whatever I do, I deserve to have my prison sentence commuted? Give me a break. The sentence should address the crime, not the family.


  102. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===His smirk and arrogance doubled the time. While miserable behavior, it didn’t add up to 14 years.===

    No, I’m pretty sure his lying on the stand is what cost him the extra years. He defied Judge Zagel, he mocked the court and the process and he still questions the legitimacy of the process.

    His smirk and arrogance were just the icing on the cake.


  103. - frsutrated GOP - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    I support it. George Ryan received a lesser sentence and his crimes were just as bad. God Bless the Willis Children.

    Also he’s not being pardoned.
    Last I checked, George Ryan went to jail for paying family from the campaign, taking trips and money and not reporting it, and stealing contracts. Blago did worse, he personally shuck down people.
    He earned the time.


  104. - Doc Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    So if you’ve got a family, you get your sentence commuted? Gosh, I’ve got a family–if only I’d know that limited my legal liability, I would have started my criminal career much earlier.


  105. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    Sorry I haven’t read any of the comments. I typically like to do that, but this is the first I have heard and must bloviate….

    I can not believe this. Outrage and disgust too shallow of words to express the depth of my total anger. This might be enough to actually get me involved instead of just living my life pretending everything is fine and we don’t have a president who is the most ignorant, obnoxious person to have ever lived.


  106. - cler dec - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    I support this entirely. Rod has been in long enough lot of folks get away with much more and nothing done. Let him go back to his family and be of use to them, just the decent thing to do. He is not dangerous and it makes complete sense. Probably many others in same camp.


  107. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    Have any of you considered the trauma I’m going to endure when I encounter this mope “jogging–fast walking” through my alley–again?

    I loathe the guy and always have, but he’s done enough time.

    Now only if he would stay out of my alley and the airwaves.

    He won’t though because mopes gotta mope.


  108. - anon2 - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    === Sentencing should be based on the crime, not how obnoxious the defendant is.===

    Agreed. On the other hand, should sentencing take into account whether the defendant admits his crimes and shows remorse?


  109. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    =greatly excessive.=

    Is that like “strenuously object” ?

    =No one (I think) has yet mentioned his wife and kids=

    He tried to shakedown a children’s hospital.


  110. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:38 pm:

    Oppose. Oppose. Oppose.

    We need to hold elected officials to higher standards. As the governor of the state he attempted to sell our seat in the United States Senate.

    Stealing from one person is a crime, when a man who ran for office, swore and oath, and then tries to steal from 12 million people gets caught the punishment should meet the level of their crime.

    He wronged off of us — commuting his sentence wrongs all of us and rewards the idea that currently corrupt officials will get off.


  111. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    “Strongly oppose. I want to remind everyone who pulls the “sentence was excessive” card needs to be reminded Blago had opportunities to show remorse or name names…both things he chose NOT to do.”

    I don’t agree with those commentators who blame Judge Zagel for the long sentence. I know someone who clerked for Zagel and expressed that he is like many judges, unsympathetic if the guilty party expresses no remorse or doesn’t apologize before sentencing. Blago made this bed and he had to lie in it.


  112. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    Mr/Ms. Huh hit the key question
    Grey or Black?


  113. - Rudy's teeth - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:41 pm:

    If/when Blago gets out, he’ll need a job. Maybe he’ll hook up with his old buddy Milan Petrovic. Blago sent a lot of business to McKesson during his time as governor. Are they hiring?


  114. - anon2 - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    === If this commutation poses a problem for either party it’s the Dems.===

    You mean the Dems who voted to impeach the Democratic governor almost unanimously (except Rep. Mell)? Or the Dems who unanimously voted to convict the Democratic governor?


  115. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    =No one (I think) has yet mentioned his wife and kids=

    ‘(1) extorting the CEO of a children’s hospital by withholding important state funding to help sick children until the CEO provided campaign contributions;”

    WHo’s kids should we worry about?

    The Bloomberg ad writes itself. “Trump supports shakedowns of sick kids” because ipso facto he supports it.


  116. - Some Guy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    Oppose.

    Blago is corrupt, and Trump’s pardoning him to help promote his own corruption.


  117. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===“Don’t give me the babe-in-the-woods routine, Karen. I’ve listened to those wiretaps”===

    You should remember that one for after Alderman Burke’s trial.


  118. - Arnold - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    Shocked at the number of support comments. He committed corrupt acts (literally withholding funds from a children’s hospital), was convicted and sentenced UNDER the sentencing guidelines. An earlier poster said it in code but I’ll say it out loud: if he were a minority he’d be in for a lot longer and there is zero chance Trump would have taken this action. Former African American Detroit Mayor got 28 years. But don’t worry, Trump ran a commercial during the Super Bowl: he’s for prison reform… I’m nauseated.


  119. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    Worst part of this is the “victim” tour he and Lady MacBlago are going to go on.


  120. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    Patty Blagojevich deserves an Emmy, Oscar, a law license, her own talk show, and consulting fees in the tens of thousands of dollars

    Patty played this POTUS, and got what she wanted

    This is a victory for her as much as Rod


  121. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    What are the odds he gets his hair dyed before showing up in public?


  122. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    Support - Blago and JB can get back to discussing politics


  123. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    === Blago and…===

    … Trump can talk about gaming the system and corrupting their offices.

    Good times.


  124. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    === Rogue on steroids ===

    I oppose the commutation given by the GOP’s rogue on steroids to the Dem rogue on steroids.


  125. - Payback - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    I support the commutation, not because I support Rod Blagojevich, but because I’m still waiting for prosecution of others still at large who have committed far more serious crimes surrounding the actions of C.P.D. detective Jon Burge, like torturing suspects and placing men on death row with wrongful convictions. What about then Cook County state’s attorney Richie Daley, for example?

    Re. Gov. Pritzker’s statement: “Illinoisans have endured far too much corruption, and we must send a message to politicians that corrupt practices will no longer be tolerated.” Right, then I expect that the Gov will call for an expanded statewide grand jury statute, so AG Kwame Raoul can investigate and directly indict corrupt politicians and police and Illinois citizens don’t have to wait twenty years until the feds get around to it. Show me the beef.


  126. - NotAnonymous - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    Strong statement by the prosecutors.


  127. - Cheswick - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:05 pm:

    Rod’s brother Rob is glad.
    https://twitter.com/CarolMarin/status/1229850200191180800


  128. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    with all the talk that non violent criminals do not belong in prison this commutation fits right in.


  129. - walker - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    Nope. His sentence was light — both per federal sentencing guidelines, and because we should hold betrayers of public trust to higher standards generally.

    My first thoughts went to the reality show script for Flynn and Manafort


  130. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    I’m not sure how I feel - one one hand I think Zagel was unfair to him during the trial and lost objectivity (and that it is an absurd world where Mike Madigan has not only avoided the same fate but is so powerful). But the process is so perverse- of all the cases needing attention, this one received it for the worst of reasons. You can say we should look at it in a vacuum and any righting of an “injustice” is good, but there are only so many of these pardons/commutations a president makes.


  131. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    ==
    Patty played this POTUS, and got what she wanted

    This is a victory for her as much as Rod

    ==

    Yep, she got it done.


  132. - wellness check - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    Has anyone checked on John Kass? Is he OK?

    The happiest man in Illinois is Martin Sandoval, until he realizes he is not white enough to get similar treatment from the President.


  133. - anon2 - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    === I support the commutation…because I’m still waiting for prosecution of others still at large who have committed far more serious crimes ===

    So if indicted legislators get convicted, should they catch a break too because you are “waiting for prosecution of others”?


  134. - SSL - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:23 pm:

    JB had to say something, but it rings a little hollow when you consider his own taped conversations with Blago. At best he exercised bad judgment. But sure, tell us how you are going to stop the dealing JB.


  135. - Once Wijcek - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:25 pm:

    Just in time for Blago to be hired to provide analysis on primary night for one of the Chicago tv stations.


  136. - JoanP - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    RE: Update #6 - Yet all of those guys seem to think it’s okay to extort a foreign country for political gain.


  137. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:29 pm:

    === “We are disappointed by the President’s commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s federal sentence.===

    “We are still with Trump, so don’t get mad at us.

    === Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois, and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters.===

    “Please, please don’t blame Trump or us for Trump letting Rod go. Please don’t. We’re with Trump, but golly, don’t blame us… as we run as Trumpkins.”

    === As our state continues to grapple with political corruption, we shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook. History will not judge Rod Blagojevich well.===

    “Also, please, history, ignore how we aided and abetted this president and his own issues with corruption.”

    Trump commuted Rod.

    That stains the Trumpkins… in Illinois.


  138. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    The president’s action cannot be seen in isolation as specific to the Blagojevich case.

    In the present context, it is the president’s declaration, “I am the law or l’état, c’est moi.”

    That’s wrong and dangerous. It’s why the federal judges association convened an emergency meeting and why former DOJ employees are speaking out about Attorney General Barr’s intererence.


  139. - Rachel - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    Patty knows her way around immature, narcissistic idiots.


  140. - Enemy of the State - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    Conditional support: only of the entire Blago household has their FOID cards revoked.


  141. - JIbba - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    Wish Davis and the rest of the R delegation would remember there are Ds in the state. A joint statement would have been more powerful and a lot less political/hypocritical. But that defeats their purpose, I suppose.


  142. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    Annonin’ - I would bet a black dye job.


  143. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    ==- wellness check - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:16 pm:==

    Kass is probably overdosing on pop and shakes again.


  144. - Downstate - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    always a classic….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJFo5IyGU2Y


  145. - slow down - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    A few distinct thoughts:

    1. Blago’s behavior was disgraceful and criminal and deserving of significant punishment.

    2. 14 years was well in excess of what was reasonable for the crimes committed. Having served 8 years, I support the commutation.

    3. The President has no moral code and has previously abused the pardon/commutation power in ways that are indefensible. That he got this one right doesn’t change that fact.


  146. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:47 pm:

    What blago is going to do for a job? Maybe difficult to get a job given his prison record and notoriety.


  147. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    Oppose. Strongly. I suppose the only silver lining in all this will be the renewed laser focus on Illinois government corruption. Will also push the Governor’s tax message and State of the State message away from the news while the press breathlessly tracks Rod’s travels home. Far more effective I guess than tearing up a speech. That Trump sure knows how to play the press. What will he do tomorrow? Keep tuning in.


  148. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===14 years was well in excess of what was reasonable===

    Says you. The appellate court disagreed.


  149. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    I love Durbin, but…

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-met-durbin-blagojevich-prison-sentence-20180604-story.html

    He might not have lobbied any president, but he did go on-record with his thoughts about the subject.


  150. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    =What will he do tomorrow? Keep tuning in.=

    Probably more subversion of the Constitution and abuses of his power. Nice to know you think it is a hoot.


  151. - Arock - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    Against it but had to chuckle, Comptroller Mendoza-”No surprise. Birds of a feather flock together.” She knows from experience by being a part of the corrupt Illinois Democratic Party for so many years.


  152. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    == The President … abused the pardon/commutation power in ways that are indefensible. ==

    Every President I can remember has issued some questionable pardons.


  153. - Waldi - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    IMO they both belong in jail.


  154. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:20 pm:

    IL GOP Congressmen, Blago’s commutation is on you. You’re spineless acquiescence to his corruption has emboldened him to do whatever he wants.


  155. - Earnest - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    Oppose. It’s a state issue, not federal, has been through the legal process and isn’t even a partisan issue here.


  156. - regnaD kciN - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    Strongly oppose. Gosh, wasn’t just a few short months ago that our President was so concerned about fighting corruption in the Ukraine? Guess, it’s a different kind of corruption here in the good old USA. Oh, and won’t the President be quick to point out that he really doesn’t know Rod.


  157. - lost in the weeds - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    This is a form of Prison Reform. I can see some ads in the future.


  158. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    Was just reading that another person pardoned today was Junk Bond King Michael Milken.

    Maybe Illinois can hire him. for his financial expertise to deal with our debt? /s


  159. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:32 pm:

    What do you know, it actually is an “Up Day” for the former governor.


  160. - chuddery - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:37 pm:

    ==Says you. The appellate court disagreed.==

    The appellate court didn’t look at whether the sentence was reasonable standing on its own. It was concerned with whether the sentence was in line with the guideline. But the sentencing guidelines are unreasonable and inherently flawed.


  161. - Just Peachy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    Oppose…Trump and Blago should be sharing a cell


  162. - The Birth of a Nation - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    Does Blago get his FOID card back now?


  163. - Tommydanger - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    Its not as much the President truly believes Rod was wronged as it is that it fits his narrative that judges and prosecutors are corrupt. It is only the tip of the commutation/pardon iceberg that awaits us after the election and regardless of the results. At best its a ham handed attempt to commute a Democrat’s sentence to mask the stench emanating from his very own House of Cards cast of characters who await their pardons in the not too distant future.
    Only today and only with this President could the likes of Sandusky and Cosby be filled with hope.


  164. - 17% Solution - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    Durban asked Bush to commute George Ryan’s sentence. Not Blagojevich and Trump.


  165. - JoanP - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    @ Earnest -

    =Oppose. It’s a state issue, not federal=

    Nope, it’s a federal issue. Blago was convicted in federal court. If it were a state conviction, Trump wouldn’t have the authority to commute the sentence.


  166. - phenom_Anon - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:51 pm:

    =Trump commuted Rod.

    That stains the Trumpkins… in Illinois. =

    IMHO, I don’t think this is that bad in the red districts. I don’t think Rod’s sentence is high up on the list of priorities for the Trump supporters there.

    But this happening now is better for JB now than in two years. It’s easy to move on from the wiretaps when Blago is out of the headlines and locked up in Colorado, but when he’s running around giving interviews talking about how JB was begging for that Senate seat, with the air of arrests and investigations everywhere… That’s a whole lot tougher to dodge.


  167. - Ken_in_Aurora - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:52 pm:

    Stay classy, Comptroller Mendoza…


  168. - Ken_in_Aurora - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    Support. He has served long enough, and it’s not a pardon.


  169. - Live Wire - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    Don’t blame Trump, he thought he was commuting Mayor Daley.


  170. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 3:55 pm:

    ==Stay classy, Comptroller Mendoza…==

    Sometimes the truth hurts, Ken.


  171. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    === I don’t think this is that bad in the red districts===

    44 and 19

    This isn’t helping in the suburbs.


  172. - Ken_in_Aurora - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    ===Sometimes the truth hurts, Ken.===

    It’s a true statement, but it was also an inappropriate comment for a sitting officer of the State to be making.


  173. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 4:12 pm:

    Good thing those Illinois GOP congressmen have a strong anti-corruption record, as evidenced by their votes to impeach Trump.

    Oops, wait a minute.


  174. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 4:12 pm:

    =Trump commuted Rod.

    That stains the Trumpkins… in Illinois.=

    Trump’s approval level among Republicans is north of 80%. You don’t get to those levels without a strong amount of denial. With everything that Trump has done up until this point and the strong approval he continues to enjoy today’s news will likely barely register. Certainly nationally and in Illinois. It will be rationalized as a compassionate decision and/or justified based on prosecutor/judicial overreach. You know, just like what Trump has had to endure.


  175. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    - Pundent -

    I’m looking at Illinois and the Eastern Bloc / Hateful Eight folks and then Durkin’s own response and see a leader seeing 44 now as a high water mark…

    The thing is, this won’t help to building that 44 to 45.

    That’s my thought


  176. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 4:21 pm:

    ===do you think Rod is going keep his mouth shut on Illinois Democrats?===
    Maybe he’s got something on the Don from his Apprentice days.


  177. - Latina - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 5:18 pm:

    Definitely support his release Gov. Ryan received less time and because of his greed 6 Willis children died. Pritzker, Zagel etc.. that were part of this monstrosity of injustice I can’t wait till it’s your turn. Republican and Democrat politicians are all guilty of much worse. Thank you President Trump.


  178. - phenom_Anon - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 5:21 pm:

    =This isn’t helping in the suburbs.=

    Agree, but I think the impact will be minor for the suburban guys who already disown him, and the few that are still solid GOP. In the more tossup districts however where they have to walk a tighter line, it could have an impact, that, while small, could be the difference in a tight race.

    This also feels like a negative for the tax referendum supporters, because it plays right into what the opponents will be saying.


  179. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 5:30 pm:

    === I think the impact will be minor for the suburban guys who already disown him===

    LOL, for the love of Pete they’re trying to gain seats, not hold off losing more than the 44 they have.

    At this rate, keeping at 44 would be a victory… that’s nowhere near good.


  180. - Penny - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 5:38 pm:

    I completely support Blago’s commutation. He was a political prisoner railroaded by the Chicago machine. I am a Trump voter.

    I hope Rod realizes the Dems are no longer his friends.


  181. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 5:44 pm:

    === He was a political prisoner railroaded by the Chicago machine.===

    … and yet was impeached, bipartisanly, convicted bipartisanly, removed bipartisanly.

    I truly thank you for making it clear that Trump and Blago are together. Really appreciate that. Sincerely.

    The idea is lots and lots of voters will link Trump, ILGOP and Blago…

    It’s almost perfect.

    You’d think the former GOP here would take this as THE Golden (pun, no pun, you choose) opportunity to break off, eat it, own it, start fresh for 2022.

    Y’all are broke anyway. Running off candidates that can’t self fund tells me that.

    Be wise. Use this. Make the break. Show strength.

    Blago could save the party, rebirth it…

    You have ZERO to lose.


  182. - Huh? - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 5:47 pm:

    “Does Blago get his FOID card back now?”

    As a convicted felon, blago can only get his FOID card back, with great difficulty, by appealing to the Director of the Illinois State Police.


  183. - Penny - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 5:53 pm:

    The IL GOP is useless.


  184. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 6:01 pm:

    “Do you support or oppose a presidential commutation for Rod Blagojevich?”

    Oppose.

    Blago extorted a children’s hospital — to hell with him.

    – MrJM


  185. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 6:16 pm:

    MrJM,

    Short. Succinct. Wordslinger quality.

    Thanks for being here.

    PublicServant


  186. - Vote Mechanic - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 6:19 pm:

    I support it for the reason that 8 years is an excessive amount of time for these poor prisoners to be locked up with Blagojevich.


  187. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 6:36 pm:

    “The idea is lots and lots of voters will link Trump, ILGOP and Blago…

    It’s almost perfect.”

    The ILGOP said Blago is the face of Illinois corruption, and now its anti-Democratic/Madigan corruption messaging is flushed down the loo.


  188. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 7:13 pm:

    =At this rate, keeping at 44 would be a victory… that’s nowhere near good.=

    Agree wholeheartedly. But in the world of Trump decisions begin and end with what’s in the best interest of the President regardless of what it may mean to the party in the short or long term. Everyone is expected to fall in line. After everything that has occurred to date, this by no means can represent any sort of outrage tipping point. Sorry Jim Durkin but that’s the way it is.


  189. - SAP - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 7:33 pm:

    Even though Susan Collins said that she is sure Rod learned a lesson, I remain opposed.


  190. - GetOverIt - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 8:38 pm:

    I support this move. Eight years is enough..


  191. - M - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 8:48 pm:

    Federal investigations are meaningless to Trump.


  192. - DuPage - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 9:03 pm:

    Now let’s hear what is on the rest of those tapes. Exculpatory, or not.


  193. - Woodstock willy - Tuesday, Feb 18, 20 @ 9:10 pm:

    Can someone explain to me why so many former US attorneys and assistant US Attorneys wind up leaving to become defense attorneys ??


  194. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Feb 19, 20 @ 7:35 am:

    After reading the comments, I’m more inclined now to think it’s a bad idea to commute Blagojevich’s sentence. Especially when it’s Trump who did it—someone who’s openly corrupt, openly trying to shred the integrity of our elections by inviting foreign interference, and who attacks our public servants and calls them the swamp.

    Corruption is terrible for everybody. I hope this spurs Illinois lawmakers into enacting strong ethics reform this spring.


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* Illinois will be first state to borrow from Federal Reserve
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* Your moment of Zen
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* Rumors and looters
* Violence flared in Cicero and Naperville last night
* Peaceful marches after turbulent weekend
* Open thread
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* I'll be back tomorrow
* ISP Director: Job is to allow people to be heard and not be drowned out by crime - "We've had requests for assistance from every part of the state" - No indication "of an organized structured group" - More ramp closures than anyone can recall - Says "different tone and tenor" today, and "we hope it stays that way" - Limitations of ILEAS prompts resource shifting - "This is different than other protests" - "We have to be different" - Three regions - "We are going to be ready for anything and we are ready for anything"
* Pritzker calls up 250 more IL National Guard members, deploys 300 more ISP troopers for areas outside Chicago - Issues disaster proclamation for 9 counties - Says Trump has"fanned the flames instead of bringing peace and calm" - Chicago requested "limited role" for National Guard - Of Trump: "I really think it is time to call for calm" - All community-based COVID-19 testing sites closed - "We're being responsive as municipalities have asked us to step in" - "I don't want to dominate peaceful protesters who have legitimate grievances" - On Trump spat: "I think people should know what we stand for" - ISP has "several different missions" - Disaster declaration gives flexibility
* Yesterday's stories

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