Blagojevich plays Trump card clumsily — but that doesn’t mean he won’t win trick
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Rod Blagojevich, who wants President Donald Trump to spring him from prison, wrote an article published Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal in which he opines “the rule of law is under assault in America” by “some” in the Justice Department and the FBI.
“I learned the hard way what happens when an investigation comes up empty after the government had invested time, resources and manpower. When they can’t prove a crime, they create one,” our former governor wrote.
Blagojevich was never very subtle.
Somebody got the idea Blagojevich should whisper sweet nothings in Trump’s ear to get his sympathy and coax a pardon. Instead, he stuck in his whole tongue.
If their quality time together on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” show wasn’t enough to form a bond of brothers, Blagojevich thinks he can play his Robert Mueller-and-friends-are-out-to-get-us card.
Heck, who knows? I’m not saying it won’t work.
Hard to predict what this president might do from one day to the next, although I’m still not quite seeing what benefit Trump would receive from assisting a former Democratic governor of Illinois whose name became nationally synonymous with political corruption.
Don’t forget that Trump ended up firing Blagojevich for his incompetence on the reality TV show.
Whatever maneuvers Blagojevich may choose to employ from his Colorado prison cell now that the U.S. Supreme Court has shut down his appeals, he can’t be allowed to totally rewrite history.
Blagojevich is a crook who was properly convicted of being such, and no matter how many times he claims he was persecuted for “the routine practice of attempting to raise campaign funds while governor,” it’s not true.
The evidence showed — and the jury convicted him — of blatantly shaking down the management of Children’s Memorial Hospital and the owners of the Maywood Park racetrack for campaign donations, in both cases using the powers of his office to strong-arm them.
Then there was the small matter of his attempts to get some benefit for himself in exchange for appointing someone to fill Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
He was convicted of that, too, although the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals later tossed the charges related to his efforts to trade the appointment in exchange for a Cabinet appointment, excusing that as political “logrolling.”
The Court of Appeals was very clear that most of Blagojevich’s defense arguments were “frivolous.”
“The evidence, much of it from Blagojevich’s own mouth, is overwhelming,” the court wrote.
The appellate judges also shot down Blagojevich’s main argument that he did nothing illegal because there was never an explicit quid pro quo. They pointed out that “Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, you know what I mean” is quite enough.
Despite Blagojevich’s delusions of grandeur, the fact the Supreme Court didn’t even bother to hear his case is a strong indication the legal issues his case raised aren’t particularly remarkable or unique.
A number of Illinois politicians had signed on to a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to take Blagojevich’s case because of this alleged ambiguity over how to solicit campaign donations legally.
Some of them should have known better. Some of the rest are just lucky they never wound up on an FBI wiretap like Blagojevich.
Blagojevich’s family and supporters have been signaling his pardon strategy ever since the U.S. Supreme Court announced last month that it would not hear the former governor’s appeal.
But this is the first time Blagojevich has made the pitch himself.
Rather than directly address Trump, Blagojevich’s Wall Street Journal piece purports to warn “all candidates and elected officials to watch out.”
“Politically motivated prosecutors can now interfere with and undo free and fair elections,” Blagojevich wrote.
That sure sounds familiar.