Trump Considers Leniency For Blagojevich: Full Transcript Of Remarks On Air Force One
Here is, courtesy of New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, a transcript of the on-the-record portion of President Trump's conversation with reporters on Air Force One related to pardons.
Q: You pardoned someone? (Dinesh D'Souza)
Trump: "Only because, only because of I felt from I don't know him, I never met him. I called him last night, first time I've ever spoken to him. I said I'm pardoning you. Nobody asked me to do it."
"I've always felt he was very unfairly treated. And a lot of people did, a lot of people did. What should have been a quick minor fine, like everybody else with the election stuff….what they did to him was horrible."
"I always felt that he was … I didn't know him. I read the papers. I see him on television."
"I'll tell you another one … there's another one that I'm thinking about. Rod Blagojevich.  years in jail* for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say.
"And If you look at what he said he said something to the effect like what do I get … stupid thing to say. But he's sort of saying ... He's gonna make a U.S. senator which is a very big deal. And it was foolish …  years now. I don't know him other than that he was on 'The Apprentice' for a short period of time."
" years is I think really unfair. It's a Democrat. You know, D'Souza's a Republican. And I'm seriously thinking about it. I am seriously thinking about – not pardoning – but I am seriously thinking of a curtailment of Blagojevich."
[Reporter provides the word commutation.]
"Because what he did does not justify  years in a jail. If you read his statement, it was a foolish statement. There was a lot of bravado … but it does not .. plenty of other politicians have said a lot worse. And it doesn't, he shouldn't have been put in jail.
"And he's a Democrat. He's not my party. But I thought that he was treated unfairly."
Trump said he spoke to D'Souza "for three minutes last night … he almost had a heart attack."
"And there are others. I think to a certain extent Martha Stewart was harshly and unfairly treated. And she used to be my biggest fan in the world … before I became a politician. But that's OK, I don't view it that way."
*President Trump referred to Blagojevich serving 18 years in jail. He was sentenced to 14 years in jail. The transcript has been edited to reflect the correct sentence.
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