Hours after announcing the, President Trump said he is considering two other commutations – Martha Stewart, and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who is still in prison.
In 2011 Blagojevich, a Democrat, was impeached, left office, and was convicted of federal corruption charges after his attempt to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat when he was elected president.
Trump told reporters he was considering the additional pardons during an extended talk on Air Force One:
According to ijr.com:
Martha Stewart was convicted in 2004 after lying to federal investigators who were looking into a stock trade that triggered suspicions of insider trading. Stewart was released in 2005 after a five-month stint at a federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia.
Pardoning Stewart would send an obvious message to Trump’s frequent nemesis and former FBI Director James Comey. During his time as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Comey’s office led the prosecution of Stewart.
The decision to pursue charges against Stewart, and her later conviction, helped boost Comey’s profile. ”Martha Stewart is being prosecuted not for who she is, but because of what she did,” he said at the time.
While Stewart has resumed her career as a homemaker, Rod Blagojevich remains in prison.
After Barack Obama won election to the presidency and resigned from the United States Senate in 2008, Blagojevich was caught redhanded by the FBI while brazenly attempting to profit off of his gubernatorial power to appoint Obama’s Senate successor.
“I’ve got this thing and it’s f**king golden,” Blagojevich was famously heard saying while discussing the appointment in a recorded conversation.
In 2011, Blagojevich was convicted on multiple charges stemming from the corruption scandal and sentenced to 14 years in prison, a sentence he is still serving today.
Trump considering a pardon for a disgraced Democratic politician may seem strange, but there is one connection between the two — Blagojevich appeared as a contestant on Trump’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010.