Rep. LaHood slams Blagojevich’s extortion, defends Trump’s Ukraine call

Capitol Bureau

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — In a 22-minute interview with Capitol Connection, Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL 18th) said “no one is less deserving” of President Trump’s commutation than convicted felon and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

LaHood said Blagojevich sounded as though he were living in an “alternative universe,” and said, “He essentially ran the state like a criminal enterprise.”

The Republican Congressman, a former federal prosecutor who co-chairs President Trump’s re-election effort in Illinois this year, said Blagojevich showed no remorse and never apologized for his crimes, including an attempt to withhold state aid to extort $50,000 in campaign contributions from a children’s hospital. 

“Him using his position to gain advantage is what is wrong with the system,” LaHood said. 

Asked how Blagojevich’s attempts to use his position to extort campaign contributions might compare to President Trump using his office to pressure Ukraine to opening an investigation into his political opponent, LaHood said, “From a criminal standpoint, I think they’re apples and oranges.”

LaHood argued the president never committed a crime, but also said he would not advise President Trump to repeat the behavior he exhibited in the call with the President of Ukraine. 

“I do think the President will not be engaging in any more calls like that,” LaHood said.


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