|TRUMP: What will he do with Rod?|
That number, of course, being of federal Bureau of Prisons inmate Rod Blagojevich, whom Trump last week started up a public stink about by suggesting he’s inclined to consider clemency for the one-time Illinois governor.
FOR WHAT IT’S worth, Blagojevich this week formally filed the request to the president seeking some form of pardon from the 14-year prison term he’s now serving – and of which he has completed about half.
Now, it’s truly in the hands of Trump as to what will happen.
Trump may have spewed a lot of trash talk last week about how Blagojevich was merely guilty of saying stupid things and how he thinks the prison term is excessive – even though the legal system all the way up through the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in ways to uphold the conviction and sentence.
But from the three-plus decades of time I have spent writing about government, politics and the legal system, one thing I have learned is that some people truly are evidence of the cliché “talk is cheap.”
AND IF YOU look at this objectively, Trump has already gained everything he would expect to get out of granting any form of clemency to Blagojevich.
If he were to decide to do nothing and leave Blagojevich in the Colorado-based prison where he has been held since 2011, I don’t think he’d suffer a thing.
If anything, he’d probably gain a bit in the public estimation of the people who are inclined to want Rod to rot in prison for the full 14 years of his sentence (they’re probably offended that his scheduled release in May 2014 means he gets one year, four months of time off for good behavior).
|BLAGOJEVICH:Pondering his fate|
As for the idea that Trump went back on his word, the majority of people already think Donald is an untrustworthy character (remember the 3 million more in 2016 who wanted “President Hillary R. Clinton?”). His reputation wouldn’t suffer in the least.
THE THOUGHT THAT Trump is merely trying to stir up trouble, particularly amongst those in the Chicago political establishment who would have a personal interest in the Blagojevich case’s eventual outcome, has been bopping about my brain ever since Trump opened his mouth on the issue.
It stepped up even further this week when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporter-type people the president hasn’t made up his mind about what to do with Blagojevich – no matter what he said the week before.
“The president hasn’t made a final decision on that,” she said. “But as you know, the president doesn’t base his decisions off the criticism of others, but on what he thinks is the right decision to make, and that’s what he’ll base it on.”
So was last week just an effort to stir up rage and anger amongst Chicago Democrats – almost none of whom actually voted for him two years ago?
BECAUSE THE THING that consistently has had me wondering is, “What does Trump think he gains from granting any form of clemency (even a commutation of a prison sentence to ‘time served’) to Blagojevich.
The one trend that has cropped up in seeing the way Trump uses presidential pardon power is that he uses it to reward his allies. Granting a pardon to one-time Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio so he could avoid serving jail time allowed Trump to protect a person who shared his extremist attitudes on immigration – while also offending the people whom Trump has been trying to demonize since ‘Day One’ of his campaigning.
|What high court thought no longer really matters|
Even though Blagojevich was far from anything resembling a social liberal on issues, to the ideologues inclined to like Trump, that makes not one bit of difference.
Although if Trump really wanted to perform some form of “justice,” he’d let the Blagojevich request for clemency sit idly by and do nothing with it. Just like Blagojevich was the guy who, as governor, rejected 93 percent of the just over 1,000 clemency requests he acted on – while doing nothing with another 2,800 requests from people whose last chance at relief was gubernatorial consideration.