President Donald Trump asked donors this week if they were in support of Rod Blagojevich getting out of prison, marking yet another instance where Trump has shown indecision over whether or not to commute or pardon the former Illinois governor.
The president's poll of donors, first reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed to NBC 5 by Congressman Mike Bost's office, reportedly came during his visit to Chicago this week- his first as president. Trump held a fundraiser Monday at his hotel in the city after speaking at a police chiefs conference earlier in the day.
The results of the informal poll remain unclear, however.
Trump has brought Blagojevich's name up numerous times during his presidency, saying as recently as August that his administration was “strongly” considering a commutation.
The president previously said he believes Blagojevich was “harshly sentenced,” and that he wanted to gauge the feelings of members of both parties about a possible commutation of the disgraced governor’s sentence.
“We’re looking at it,” he said in August. “I feel very badly. I think he was very harshly sentenced, but we’re looking at it very strongly. People feel very strongly about that. I floated it and I wanted to see where the Democrats stood, where the Republicans stood. People feel very strongly about Rod Blagojevich’s 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.”
Blagojevich has served more than seven years of a 14-year prison sentence after he was convicted of trying to sell the Senate seat of then-President-Elect Barack Obama. The former governor has gone through numerous potential appeals and his wife Patti has appealed directly to the president in interviews on Fox News.
Timeline: The Legal Roller-Coaster Ride of Rod Blagojevich
The possibility of a commutation has drawn criticism from members of both political parties, with numerous prominent Democrats and Republicans opposing the move. Even still, others are in support of ending the former governor’s sentence, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Representative Bobby Rush.
While all of the commutation drama is swirling, the state of Illinois is looking to prevent Blagojevich from practicing law, as the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint seeking to make the indefinite suspension of his law license permanent.
Blagojevich is already prevented from holding public office in the state of Illinois as a result of his removal from office.