President Donald Trump is “strongly considering” commuting the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Trump mused about the possibility Wednesday on Air Force One while traveling to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, to meet with victims of a pair of deadly shootings, and has privately discussed commuting the sentence, reported the New York Times.
“I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly,” Trump told reporters on the presidential aircraft. “He was given close to 18 years in prison, and a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things — and it was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleazebags that did it. And his name is Rod Blagojevich, and I’m thinking about commuting his sentence.”
Two sources told the newspaper that Trump had planned to commute the sentence this week.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son in law and a senior White House adviser, suggested a pardon for Blagojevich, who appeared on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” reality TV show before he went to prison for trying to trade President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat for personal gain.
Kushner told the president that pardoning Blagojevich would appeal to Democrats, according to one source.
But other advisers told Trump that a pardon would be unwise, so he agreed to commute the sentence instead.
Trump had previously suggested commutation for Blagojevich in May 2018, and official paperwork was filed a month later requesting the move.