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So much for freedom, for now, for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

After President Donald Trump hinted last week that he was  on the cusp of commuting Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for corruption, Trump got plenty of pushback from Republicans in Illininois' congressional delegation.

Sources told CNN that several of them called Trump's chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and the White House counsel to oppose such a move.

At least two of them, Reps. Darin LaHood and Mike Bost, made their case directly to the President on Thursday night, urging him not to go forward. They laid out the litany of crimes Blagojevich committed while in office and argued it would send the wrong message to voters about corruption by public officials.

Trump's response: "I wish I had the perspective before," according to Bost, who served on the Illinois House's impeachment committee to remove Blagojevich from office in 2009.

"Those charges were so outrageously bad," Bost said.

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That same evening, LaHood -- a former federal and state prosecutor -- called Trump as well and laid out in detail the brazen charges against Blagojevich, including allegations he threatened to cancel millions in state dollars for a children's hospital if its CEO did not write him a $25,000 campaign check. Among the charges was that Blagojevich attempted to sell former President Barack Obama's Senate seat that he resigned in order to become president.

Trump also was told that Blagojevich, who once appeared on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" show, had shown no remorse for his crimes, sources told CNN.

A White House official downplayed the idea anything had changed, insisting there is "no pumping the brakes" on Blagojevich and that Trump is still looking at a handful of possible pardons and commutations. The New York Times first reported that Trump was having second thoughts about commuting Blagojevich's sentence.

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Amanda St. Amand • 314-340-8201

@mandystlpd on Twitter

astamand@post-dispatch.com

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