LaHood: Hard to Gauge President's Stance on Blagojevich Commutation

Aug 16, 2019

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) said it’s hard to tell which way the president is leaning after he again mused about commuting the sentence of former Governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday. 

This comes after LaHood called the president last week to make the case against a commutation of Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence on federal corruption charges after the president raised the issue. That call included background on Blagojevich's attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama and the shakedown of a children's hospital executive. 

The Peoria Republican says the president is taking in a variety of opinions on the commutation before making a decision. 

“The president likes to take all views into consideration. He listens to the different points of view, and then he makes the decision," he said. "And obviously, he has the ultimate authority here. This is his decision that he can make.” 

Blagojevich has served about half of his sentence.

The president said he believes the 14-year sentence was "harsh." 

"People feel very strongly about Rod Blagojevich and his sentence. He’s been in there for seven and a half years; that’s a long time. And what he did was terrible, but it’s a long time. It’s a long time," Trump told the White House press pool on Thursday. 

From LaHood’s view, he’s undeserving of any clemency. 

“What Blagojevich did was pervasive, it was extensive, it hurts our government immensely and our state. And I said repeatedly, from my perspective, Rod Blagojevich is the definition of the swamp," he said. 

LaHood said he hasn't talked to the president since his Thursday remarks to reporters outside Air Force One in Morristown, N.J.