February 22, 2020

Trump issued Rod Blagojevich clemency this week — one of a number of outrageous abuses of his pardoning power — in a move that many interpret as a harbinger of even more grotesque pardons to come.

Blagojevich, in turn, appeared on Anderson Cooper's show Friday evening to whine about having been treated unfairly by prosecutors, going so far as to frame it as an experience that gave him empathy with Black and Latinos who are "oversentenced" in the criminal justice system. Yeah, how many of THEM are getting presidential pardons, Blago?

Not only was Cooper not having it, he told Blagojevich he should have done something about that when he "mattered" — as in, when he was GOVERNOR of a state that was oversentencing and Black and brown people. Finally, Cooper was so disgusted, he called Blago's entire framing of his story "bullshit."

BLAGOJEVICH: I've learned something in these eight years and that is we have a racist and corrupt criminal justice system in many areas. This is why I hope one day maybe you'll join me in the fight to reform our criminal justice system and do something about the problem of over-sentencing Blacks and Latinos. I learned that when I was there.

COOPER: Well, what's sad is you hadn't actually learned that when you mattered. When you actually were the governor. You talk about working for the criminal justice reform. There's a lot of people in Chicago, there's a lot of people in Illinois who actually, like, spit up when you say that, because when you were actually in power and when you were actually governor, and could have helped thousands of people with clemency cases, you blew it off.
So it's a little ironic, and frankly a little sad and pathetic and hypocritical. You talking about, you know, commuting -- getting -- you get a commutation of a sentence which is within the president's right but you ignored a whole hell of a lot of other people who were hoping you would give them clemency when you actually mattered.
I'd be happy to work with people on criminal justice reform but I wouldn't work with you.

Oh, my. Blagojevich applied burn cream to his entire psyche as he tried to make amends with Cooper. He admitted he . wished now he'd done more, but then basically said he never cared about it until it happened to him.

NARRATOR VOICE: It didn't happen to him.

Cooper allowed zero of that nonsense to get by him.

BLAGOJEVICH: That's among my biggest regrets. I didn't know how corrupt the criminal justice system was until it did it to me and that was a wake-up call. One thing about me as governor when the cases came to me and I was given files about people who were seeking clemency or pardons, I acted appropriately.

COOPER: Actually, no, they sat on your desk and that's why you were sued.

BLAGOJEVICH: I did clemencies and I did pardons. I didn't do nearly enough. It wasn't a priority. I would acknowledge that. I didn't go to the office every day doing that. Instead I was giving health care to all the children, free public transportation to seniors and disabled.

COOPER: Actually you were holding up money to hospitals in order to get campaign contributions but what, listen, governor --

BLAGOJEVICH: That's a big lie. They got $8 million from me.

COOPER: They got it after you left.

BLAGOJEVICH: I promised -- I ordered it before that happened and they got it while I was governor. That is not factual.

COOPER: Okay. Governor Blagojevich, I do wish you the best. I really am glad for your family that you're out and --

BLAGOJEVICH: I don't know by the way you were asking me questions. I'm sorry, Anderson. I appreciate --

AGAIN, Blago couldn't leave well enough alone - he had to get a swipe in about how his feelings were hurt by the way Cooper was talking to him. It was at that point that Cooper probably did that mental calculation as to how much was in his bank account because he knew he was about to be hit with some FCC fines, and decided, "Meh. I can afford this."

COOPER: Honestly, look, I have no problem with you getting out. The president can commute whoever he wants. I just think -- I wish you're besmirching prosecutors who actually are no longer in government but prosecutors are important to our system and you are going after the very basis of our justice system which has plenty of problems but, you know, part of the thing is you got out, do you have an obligation to at least admit what you did wrong and you refuse to do that and you're creating a whole new alternate universe of facts and that may be big in politics today but it's still frankly just bullshit. We got to leave it there.

BLAGOJEVICH: It's not bullshit. I lived it all. It's not bullshit at all.

COOPER: Thank you, governor.

WELP. Who needs a cigarette after that? Twitter, apparently. Behold the Twittergasm:

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