Rod Blagojevich's pitch for a Trump pardon is totally transparent -- it also might work

Give Rod Blagojevich -- and his wife, Patti Blagojevich -- credit: They know what makes President Donald Trump tick....

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 10:20 AM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 10:20 AM

Give Rod Blagojevich -- and his wife, Patti Blagojevich -- credit: They know what makes President Donald Trump tick.

For weeks before Trump stunned the political world by floating the possibility of pardoning the currently incarcerated Rod Blagojevich, the ex-governor and his family had been on a PR campaign aimed directly at the President of the United States.

It all began -- or ended? -- for Blagojevich in mid-April, when the Supreme Court rejected a chance to hear his appeal, virtually ensuring he would be in prison through 2024. (Blagojevich has been in prison since 2011.)

Less than a month later, Blagojevich wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal protesting his conviction. "The rule of law is under assault in America. It is being perverted and abused by the people sworn to enforce and uphold it. Some in the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation are abusing their power to criminalize the routine practices of politics and government," he wrote.

Sound like the sort of message that might appeal to anyone you know?

The Blagojeviches weren't done. Far from it.

Shortly after Trump suggested he might pardon Blagojevich, the former governor's wife, Patti, who is also the daughter of longtime Chicago city councilman Richard Mell, took to Fox News to make the case.

"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," she said, suggesting that they're also doing it to the President.

Then, just this past Saturday night on Jeanine Pirro's Fox News show, Patti Blagojevich kept up the drumbeat.

"[Prosecutors] create crimes where there are no crimes," she said. "They make up crimes. They make a big splash in the press just to bring down people who are controversial or who they don't like."

And just in case you missed who she was trying to appeal to, she added this: "It takes a strong leader like President Trump to right these wrongs."

I mean...

Before we go any further, let's revisit why Rod Blagojevich is in jail. He was convicted on 17 -- yes 17! -- counts of public corruption, most notably his attempts to sell the former Senate seat of Barack Obama to the highest bidder. (Blagojevich was the governor at the time and, as such, was charged with making the appointment to fill the vacancy created by Obama's election to the presidency.) He was impeached by the state Legislature -- with a unanimous vote in the Senate! -- and removed from office.

"Trump is using pardons to further his narrative that people like him and his friends are supposedly mistreated by the justice system," tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Marrioti. "But people like Rod Blagojevich have not been treated unfairly. I watched both of his criminal trials and he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Despite all of that, Trump appears to have a soft spot for Blagojevich. "Eighteen years in jail for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know, that many other politicians say," Trump said of the former governor, who appeared as a contestant on "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010.

What Patti Blagojevich is trying to do here is titanically transparent: She is appealing to Trump's vanity and his innate belief that a "deep state" is operating within the government and attacking innocent people like him (and Rod Blagojevich).

But simply because what she's doing is hugely transparent doesn't mean it won't work. We know that Trump likes people who like him. He responds well to flattery. He likes people owing him things. He loves stories that fit the overall narrative through which he understands his life.

The Blagojeviches are going out of their way to check each and every one of those boxes. And it just might work.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather