'I saw his wife on television': Trump commuted Blagojevich's prison sentence after his wife attacked Comey and Mueller on Fox News

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he boards Air Force One as he departs Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • In roughly half a dozen Fox News appearances since April 2018, the wife of disgraced ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich urged President Donald Trump to step in and help get him out of prison. 
  • Trump took notice, and has praised Patti Blagojevich as "one hell of a woman."
  • And as Trump on Tuesday announced he's commuting the ex-Illinois governor's 14-year sentence, he mentioned watching Patti on television. 
  • "We have commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich. He served eight years in jail. That's a long time.  And I watched his wife on television," Trump told reporters.
  • Patti tied former FBI Directors James Comey and Robert Mueller, both big players in the Russia inquiry, to her husband's case. Trump adopted her tone as he publicly mulled over commuting Blagojevich. 
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The wife of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Patti, repeatedly appeared on Fox News and appealed to President Donald Trump to show mercy to her husband. 

In the process, she showered Trump with praise and bashed people like former FBI Directors James Comey and Robert Mueller, who have frequently been targeted by the president in relation over the Russia investigation. 

Trump took notice, mentioning her as he publicly mulled over commuting Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges, and again on Tuesday as the president confirmed he's exercising clemency powers on the disgraced governor's behalf. 

"We have commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich. He served eight years in jail. That's a long time.  And I watched his wife on television. I don't know him very well. I've met him a couple of times. He was on, for a short while, on 'The Apprentice,' years ago. Seemed like a very nice person. Don't know him," the president said, referencing Blagojevich's stint on "Celebrity Apprentice," the reality TV show Trump hosted. 

In May 2018, Patti appeared on Fox News and linked her husband's situation to Trump, stating that Comey and Mueller had also "perverted the law against my family."

The next month, in another Fox News appearance, she said the "same people" who "went after" her husband were "going after" Trump now.

"They are trying to undo elections and play politics instead of doing what they are supposed to do," she said. "It takes a strong leader like President Trump to right these wrongs."


Mueller was director of the FBI when Blagojevich was investigated, and Comey was deputy attorney general. Comey's good friend, Patrick Fitzgerald, spearheaded the prosecution of Blagojevich as the US Attorney in Chicago.

There's no evidence that Mueller, Comey, or Fitzpatrick were part of a politically-motivated investigation against Blagojevich, who congressional Republicans have referred to as the "the face of public corruption in Illinois."

There is also no evidence that political bias tainted the Justice Department's investigation into the Russia investigation, which Comey led before his controversial ouster. Mueller was subsequently appointed as special counsel to oversee the Russia probe, which also looked into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin in 2016.  

As Blagojevich's wife blasted Comey and Mueller on Fox News, Trump adopted a similar tone regarding the former Illinois governor's case.

The president last year referred to Patti, who has appeared on Fox News roughly half a dozen times since April 2018, as "one hell of a woman."

"And I watched his wife, on television, saying that the young girl's father has been in jail for now seven years, and they've never seen him outside of an orange uniform. You know, the whole thing. His wife, I think, is fantastic.  And I'm thinking about commuting his sentence very strongly. I think he was - I think it's enough: seven years," Trump said to reporters last August.

Trump added, "I'm very impressed with his family. I'm very impressed with his wife. I mean, she has lived for this. She has - she's one hell of a woman. She has lived. She goes on and she makes her case. And it's really very sad."

"I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly; he was given close to 18 years in prison. And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things - and it was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleazebags that did it. And his name is Rod Blagojevich," Trump also said at the time.

The president repeated this criticism of Comey, whose links to Blagojevich's case were tenuous, on Tuesday.

Trump said, "He served eight years in jail. He has a long time to go.  Many people disagree with the sentence.  He's a Democrat; he's not a Republican. It was a prosecution by the same people - Comey, Fitzpatrick - the same group.


The ex-governor was serving a 14-year sentence for corruption linked to his efforts to sell the US Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated to become president. Blagojevich was seeking campaign contributions in exchange for making an appointment for Obama's vacant seat. In 2011, Blagojevich was convicted on 17 corruption-related charges. Previously, he'd been impeached by the Illinois House of Representatives and removed from office by the state Senate. 


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