Trump asked donors if they're in favor of clemency for Blagojevich: report

Trump asked donors if they're in favor of clemency for Blagojevich: report
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe MORE asked donors in Chicago how many of them supported him granting clemency to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on corruption charges in 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal.

At the Monday fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in Chicago, Trump asked hundreds of donors for a show of hands in favor of clemency, with a majority raising their hands, according to the newspaper, citing six people who were present.

ADVERTISEMENT

“He made the statement, and I looked at him and went, ‘No,’” Rep. Mike BostMichael (Mike) J. BostMORE (R-Ill.) said Wednesday, according to the newspaper. “And then he asked the crowd, ‘Well, who thinks we should?’”

Blagojevich was arrested in December 2008 and impeached and removed from office the next month amid charges he attempted to sell the Senate seat vacated by then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe mullahs seek to control uncontrolled chaos Poll: Majority of Democrats thinks Obama was better president than Washington Obama urges Americans to get health coverage in new holiday video MORE (D) when he was elected president.

Bost, who voted for Blagojevich’s impeachment as a state lawmaker in 2009, joined the four other Republicans in the Illinois congressional delegation in signing a letter recommending against clemency.

Bost said Trump responded that he thought that “we, as Republicans, sometimes are perceived as being cold on these issues,” Bost said.

Trump “was definitely trying to take the temperature of the room and gauge, especially in a room full of high-dollar donors, how are these people going to feel,” said conservative video host and Next News Network producer Gary Franchi, who was present in the room. “We’re talking about the high-dollar people there, so he doesn’t want to piss those people off.”

Trump has repeatedly floated the idea of clemency or a commutation for Blagojevich, who was a contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010.

In August, he told reporters "His wife, I think, is fantastic, and I'm thinking about commuting his sentence very strongly. I think it's enough, seven years.”

Blagojevich’s wife Patti Blagojevich has made multiple appearances on Fox News in which she directly appealed to the president to commute the sentence, comparing her husband’s fall from grace to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s investigation, which Trump repeatedly denounced as a “witch hunt.”