Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich spoke with t hree journalists after news broke today that he had been granted clemency by President Donald Trump, as well as that of financier-turned-politician Stanley Fink and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s top aide, John A. Dowd, who was set to testify against Blagojevich in his corruption trial.
“After doing this letter, I do believe the media was unfair,” he said.
Blagojevich explained that he had decided to come forward after Trump asked for advice from his legal team.
“He said he was deciding and asked for my opinion,” Blagojevich said. “I think what I brought to the table here is that I was governor at the same time that they were going through the investigation, the last three months of my term.”
“We were on the bubble of impeachment,” he continued. “When they started their investigation — they wanted to do this before I was gone — and when they knew I was leaving, they decided to drop it because they knew the insurance money couldn’t have happened had I not been going through the impeachment situation.”
“And so, I know that they made an effort to rush me through and dump this case and I have no problem with that,” he said. “I was governor and all I could see was them trying to use me against me.”
He had also received phone calls asking him to do so. “I’ve known Blago for so long and we’ve never really had a problem with each other.”
“We just did an interview and I said ‘Well, apparently, people think you’re so guilty of being so stupid,'” he recalled. “Well, that’s true and people voted for me because they thought I was so smart. And so, if that’s the case, I have nothing to apologize for.”
But he didn’t rule out the possibility of serving in public office. “I love public service,” he said. “I love representing people. I have a deep faith in people and I’ve had great experiences doing public service and this allows me to go back and help people even if I can’t run for office.”
Blagojevich said he hadn’t made his decision yet on his future, and while he hadn’t received a pardon he wouldn’t say it would stay that way indefinitely. “I still have to think about whether or not to go ahead, but right now I’m not going ahead,” he said.
Asked what advice he would give current governors like New Jersey’s Phil Murphy and Illinois’s J.B. Pritzker, Blagojevich said they need to follow one of his main themes: “Courage.”