there is NO such thing as political corruption so long as it benefits TRUMP

…In TRUMP America there is NO such thing as political corruption so long as it benefits TRUMP…

Floating clemency for Blagojevich, Trump diminishes the gravity of political corruption … President Trump said Thursday that Rod Blagojevich “shouldn’t have been put in jail.”


James HohmannJune 1 at 9:45 AMEmail the author

After pardoning conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty to violating campaign-finance laws, Trump told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One that he is considering commuting the prison sentence of the disgraced former Illinois governor and pardoning Martha Stewart, who was convicted of lying to investigators and obstructing justice related to insider trading.

Trump’s comments on Blagojevich got the least attention but, frankly, were the most startling. A jury of his peers convicted the former prosecutor of 17 counts of wire fraud, attempted extortion, soliciting bribes and conspiracy in 2011. He was impeached and removed from office almost unanimously. He left office with an 8 percent approval rating.

Blagojevich was charged with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat that opened when Barack Obama became president to the highest bidder. Initially, he wanted to trade the appointment of Valerie Jarrett — who has been in the news this week because of Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets — in exchange for Obama picking him as secretary of health and human services. When the president-elect’s intermediaries rebuffed him, he turned elsewhere and wondered how much he could get for appointing someone else to the seat. He also thought about naming himself.

“I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden. And I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing,” Blagojevich said on a court-authorized FBI wiretap that was played during his trial.

Apparently referring to that tape, Trump told reporters: “If you look at what he said, he said something to the effect like, ‘What do I get?’ … Stupid thing to say. But he’s sort of saying … he’s gonna make a U.S. senator, which is a very big deal. If you read his statement, it was a foolish statement. There was a lot of bravado. … Plenty of other politicians have said a lot worse. He shouldn’t have been put in jail.”

At his trial, prosecutors laid out compelling evidence that Blagojevich sought to rescind $8 million in state funding for Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago because the chief executive of the hospital wouldn’t make a $50,000 contribution.

He refused to sign a bill that financially benefited racetracks until the owner of a racetrack cut a $100,000 check to his campaign.

Blagojevich’s scheming, a prosecutor said, “would make [Abraham] Lincoln roll over in his grave.”

After he was convicted on 17 wide-ranging counts, several members of the jury spoke to reporters. “We felt it was very clear he was trying to make a trade for the Senate seat,” one juror said. Another added, “We’d tried everything to find him not guilty, but the evidence was there.”

The Supreme Court has made it much harder to prosecute public corruption in recent years, but Blagojevich failed to convince even four justices to grant cert to review his conviction or the length of his sentence just this April. Trump’s own solicitor general, Noel Francisco, asked the high court not to take up Blagojevich’s “unwarranted” appeal.


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