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BBC News America Why did Trump just free a jailed Democrat?

Image copyright Joe Amon Image caption Rod Blagojevich, shown in 2012, could be released prison early US President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of Rod Blagojevich, a man once seen as an unlikely candidate for White House clemency. But why would the Republican president, who once promised to drain the swamp, show mercy…

BBC News America

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Joe Amon

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Rod Blagojevich, shown in 2012, could be released prison early

US President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of Rod Blagojevich, a man once seen as an unlikely candidate for White House clemency. But why would the Republican president, who once promised to drain the swamp, show mercy to a Democrat viewed by critics as the embodiment of dirty politics? Even the president’s fellow party members in Illinois criticised his decision.The state’s House Republican delegation said in a statement: “Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois and not once has he shown any remorse.”But Trump was having none of it. “That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence,” he told reporters on Tuesday.Blagojevich wasn’t the only beneficiary of presidential mercy on Tuesday.He pardoned former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was convicted of tax fraud; so-called “junk bond king” Michael Milken, who was found guilty of securities fraud; and Edward DeBartolo, the former San Francisco 49ers owner who was jailed for concealing an extortion attempt.

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NYEIN CHAN NAING

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Representative Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, asked a judge to release Blagojevich early

Going back to before he won the White House, Trump has been expressing sympathy for Blagojevich, who was convicted of flagrant corruption. In 2008, he was responsible for naming someone to fill the Senate seat of Barack Obama, who had been elected president. Blagojevich, who was twice elected governor, spoke about the political opportunity on the phone with another state official, describing his plans to sell or trade the Democratic safe seat.”I’ve got this thing,” Blagojevich said, describing the seat as “golden”. The governor – a Serbian immigrant’s son who loved the camera and was known for the always having a hairb
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