CNN’s Anderson Cooper excoriated Rod Blagojevich, the disgraced former governor of Illinois who had his sentence commuted by President Donald Trump, in a contentious interview on Friday.
Blagojevich defended his statements that he was wrongly convicted, but Cooper dismantled him and ultimately proclaimed his excuses to be “bullsh*t.”
“What’s sad is that you actually hadn’t learned that when you mattered, when you actually were the governor, you talk about working for criminal justice reform, there’s a lot of people in Chicago, there’s a lot of people in Illinois, who actually like spit up when you say that,” said Cooper.
“Because when you were actually in power, and when you were actually governor, and you could have helped thousands of people with clemency cases, you blew it off!” he added, pointing out that he was sued for not even reviewing clemency requests during his tenure as governor.
“So it’s a little ironic, and frankly a little sad and pathetic and hypocritical, you talking about commuting,” continued Cooper. “But you ignored a whole hell of a lot of other people who were hoping you might give them clemency, when you actually mattered.”
Blagojevich responded that he didn’t know how corrupt the criminal system was until he was convicted, and then tried to make excuses about why he didn’t review those clemency requests.
“You do have an obligation to at least admit what you did wrong, and you refuse to do that, and you’re creating a whole new alternate universe of facts,” Cooper exclaimed.
“And that may be big in politics today but it’s still frankly just bullsh*t,” he concluded.
Cooper also rejected outright Blagojevich’s suggestion that they work on criminal justice reform together.
“I’d be happy to work with people on criminal justice reform, but I wouldn’t work with you!” said Cooper.
Critics of the president were incensed that he used his clemency power to help a friend of his who had appeared on “The Apprentice.”