Metro-East News

Bost and others pushed Trump into backing off commuting Blagojevich’s sentence

U.S. Rep. Bost on Blagojevich

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, discusses why he is against President Donald Trump commuting the prison sentence of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Up Next
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, discusses why he is against President Donald Trump commuting the prison sentence of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.

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

Trump had brought up the idea of lessening Blagojevich’s prison term while speaking to reporters on Air Force One while returning from a trip to El Paso, Texas last week.

CNN reported Trump decided to back off after conversations with Bost and U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria. They also spoke with Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Bost confirmed he spoke to the president with a Belleville News-Democrat reporter Tuesday during an unrelated event at Cahokia Mounds.

The White House would not comment on the conversations between the president and the congressmen.

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 (expletive) golden. I’m just not giving it up for (expletive) 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.

McClatchy White House Correspondent Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
Joseph Bustos is the state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, where he strives to hold elected officials accountable and provide context to decisions they make. He has won multiple awards from the Illinois Press Association for coverage of sales tax referenda.
  Comments