Congressmen influenced Trump into backing off commuting Blagojevich’s sentence

By Joseph Bustos Belleville News-Democrat (TNS)

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., confirmed he spoke with President Donald Trump and his acting chief of staff just before the president backed off of his consideration of commuting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’ prison sentence.

Trump had brought up the idea while speaking to reporters on Air Force One while returning from a trip to El Paso, Texas last week.

CNN reported that Trump decided to back off after conversations with Bost and U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill. They also spoke with Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

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All five of Illinois congressional Republicans, including U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, have been against the idea of Blagojevich being allowed to leave prison early.

The former governor is scheduled to be released in March 2024.

“The crimes that Rod Blagojevich committed need to serve the full sentence of what the judge ordered,” Bost said. “I expressed that concern to the president. “

Ultimately it is Trump’s decision whether to commute the sentence.

“If he doesn’t talk about, it’s not going to happen,” Bost said.

Bost was a state representative when the Illinois General Assembly impeached and threw Blagojevich out of office.

Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, tried to get personal gain when appointing someone to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat. He was caught on a FBI wiretap saying “I’ve got this thing, and it’s f—golden. I’m just not giving it up for f—nothing.”

He also tried to shake down a children’s hospital executive for a campaign donation in exchange for state funding. Trump has said he thinks Blagojevich’s sentence was too harsh for the crime he committed. The two also have a personal relationship as Blagojevich competed on “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010 while awaiting trial.

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