SPRINGFIELD - Illinois political leaders from both parties on Thursday said former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich should remain in prison despite Republican U.S. President Donald Trump's statement that he was considering commuting the sentence of the ex-governor.
This is not a new concept for the president, he suggested more than a year ago that he was considering a commutation for Blagojevich, who later filed the legal paperwork requesting one.
"I think it's enough, seven years", Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One while returning from El Paso, Texas, where he was meeting with victims of Saturday's mass shooting. "I am thinking about commuting his sentence". Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison after being found guilty of 18 charges in two trials including trying to sell President Obama's vacated senate seat.
Blagojevich was convicted of soliciting bribes for political appointments, including President Obama's former US Senate seat in IL. He has served 7 years. "It's IL. I think he was treated very, very unfairly, just as others were", said Trump.
"Many people have asked that I study the possibility of commuting his sentence in that it was a very severe one", Trump said.
"And I watched his wife, on television, saying that the young girl's father has been in jail for now seven years, and they've never seen him outside of an orange uniform. White House staff is continuing the review of this matter", the president said. Trump was referring to James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director that Trump fired after taking the Oval Office and who is a frequent target of the president's ire.
"I think it's enough, seven years", Trump told reporters of Blagojevich who was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for participating in several "pay to play" schemes (including trying to take back an $8 million contribution IL made to Children's Memorial Hospital because the hospital's CEO wouldn't make a campaign donation).
"It just sends the message that if you become a folk hero within the eyes of the president, and the president wants to use this as an example of why he doesn't like James Comey, it doesn't seem to be what the founding fathers believed that the executive power should be about", he said. His convictions included attempting to extort a children's hospital. Why Kushner is concerned about Blagojevich's jail sentence is unclear.
In his comments this week, Trump expressed sympathy for the Blagojevich daughters and admiration for Patti.
They wrote, "It's important that we take a strong stand against pay-to-play politics, especially in IL where four of our last eight governors have gone to federal prison for public corruption".
ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas , Texas, said a funeral service with full military honors was scheduled for Saturday. The colonel was later declared missing in action after he was shot down over Laos in 1967.
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