Trump Pardoned Blagojevich After His Wife Attacked Comey, Mueller On Fox News
President Donald Trump’s pardon for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich came after a two-year campaign by Blagojevich’s wife, Patti, who lobbied the president via television appearances to grant her husband reprieve.
According to Business Insider, Patti Blagojevich made numerous appeals to Trump during appearances on Fox News, where she attacked officials like former FBI Director James Comey and former special counsel Robert Mueller — both of whom have been an intense focus of the president’s ire.
In a May 2018 appearance, Patti told Fox’s Martha McCallum: "I see that these same people that did this to my family, [who] secretly taped us, twisted the facts, perverted the law [which put] my husband in jail -- These people are trying to do it on a larger scale (to Trump).”
A month later, she appeared on Fox News again, where she said “the ‘same people’ who ‘went after’ her husband were "going after’ Trump now,” Insider reported, also throwing in praise for the president.
"They are trying to undo elections and play politics instead of doing what they are supposed to do," Patti said. "It takes a strong leader like President Trump to right these wrongs."
The disgraced governor’s wife apparently made an impression on Trump, who mentioned her on Tuesday when he announced the pardon.
"We have commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich. He served eight years in jail. That's a long time. And I watched his wife on television. I don't know him very well. I've met him a couple of times. He was on, for a short while, on 'The Apprentice,' years ago. Seemed like a very nice person. Don't know him," Trump said.
And last year, Trump called Patti “one hell of a woman” in discussing the Blagojevich case.
"And I watched his wife, on television, saying that the young girl's father has been in jail for now seven years, and they've never seen him outside of an orange uniform. You know, the whole thing. His wife, I think, is fantastic. And I'm thinking about commuting his sentence very strongly. I think he was — I think it's enough: seven years," Trump told reporters in August, adding: "I'm very impressed with his family. I'm very impressed with his wife. I mean, she has lived for this. She has — she's one hell of a woman. She has lived. She goes on and she makes her case. And it's really very sad."
Like Patti, Trump lumped Comey in with the case, though Insider noted that the former FBI director’s ties to the matter are tenuous at best.
"I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly; he was given close to 18 years in prison. And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things — and it was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleazebags that did it. And his name is Rod Blagojevich,” Trump said last year.
The president reiterated that connection again on Tuesday, saying, "He served eight years in jail. He has a long time to go. Many people disagree with the sentence. He's a Democrat; he's not a Republican. It was a prosecution by the same people — Comey, Fitzpatrick — the same group..”
Blagojevich was in the midst of a 14-sentence for corruption related to his attempt to sell former President Barack Obama’s senate seat after the 2008 election. In 2011, the Democrat was convicted on 17 corruption-related charges. He was also impeached and removed from office by Illinois state lawmakers.