Trump floats Marth Stewart pardon, Rod Blagojevich commutation

President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he is considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting former I...

Posted: May 31, 2018 5:43 PM
Updated: May 31, 2018 5:43 PM

President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he is considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's sentence.

Trump floated the idea of pardoning or commuting the sentences of the two former "Apprentice" series stars hours after he pardoned the conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. Last week, Trump also pardoned the deceased boxer Jack Johnson.

Trump is weighing the Stewart pardon as his attorney Rudy Giuliani has taken to comparing the dilemma Trump faces about whether he should testify before the special counsel Robert Mueller to Stewart's prosecution. Stewart, who was investigated for insider trading, was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction and making false statements to investigators -- the latter of which Giuliani has seized on as a reason for why Trump should not sit for an interview.

"Martha Stewart never would have gone to jail if she hadn't lied during her testimony," Giuliani said on CNN earlier this month. "Lying ... isn't black and white."

Trump's pardons have raised questions about whether Trump is issuing pardons to send a message to his political allies and former aides who are under investigation by Mueller, a suggestion the White House has repeatedly rejected.

CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted that those individuals under investigation "watch the news, too."

"They can watch and hope and keep fighting that this could be a message to Paul Manafort, this could be a message to Michael Cohen that, 'Hang in there and the cavalry will come sooner or later,' " Toobin said.

Trump told reporters Thursday aboard Air Force One that Stewart was "to a certain extent ... harshly and unfairly treated."

"And she used to be my biggest fan in the world ... before I became a politician," Trump said. Stewart told CNN in 2016 she was going to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump, in his remarks Thursday, spoke extensively about Blagojevich's prosecution and lamented the 14-year sentence he received -- which Trump incorrectly referred to as 18 years -- after he was convicted on 18 felony corruption charges.

"Eighteen years is, I think, really unfair," Trump said, arguing Blagojevich, a Democrat, was convicted "for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say."

"I am seriously thinking about -- not pardoning -- but I am seriously thinking of a curtailment of Blagojevich," Trump said.

Both Blagojevich and Stewart's convictions have ties to James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired last year whose testimony could be crucial to any obstruction of justice charges Mueller may consider bringing against Trump.

Comey, as the US attorney in Manhattan, built the case against Stewart ahead of her 2003 indictment. And Blagojevich was arrested during US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's tenure in Chicago in 2008. Fitzgerald is currently a member of Comey's legal team and was appointed by Comey to investigate the Valerie Plame affair in 2003.

Trump's comments about Blagojevich come three days after the disgraced Illinois governor published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that "the rule of law is under assault in America" and is being "perverted and abused" by some FBI and Justice Department officials -- comments that closely mirrored Trump's recent rhetoric about the Mueller investigation, FBI and Justice Department officials.

"So today from prison, I am warning all candidates and elected officials to watch out," Blagojevich wrote. "Politically motivated prosecutors can now interfere with and undo free and fair elections."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36680

Reported Deaths: 1250
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 54768

Reported Deaths: 1096
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
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