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Cooper, Blagojevich Faced Off Friday Night. It Wasn't Pretty

CNN anchor rips ex-Ill. governor over comparisons to Mandela, claims of 'corrupt prosecutors'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2020 8:30 AM CST

(Newser) – Rod Blagojevich, whose 14-year prison sentence was cut short after eight years by President Trump this week, says he's "profoundly grateful" to Trump for doing so. One person who doesn't seem to share that sentiment: CNN's Anderson Cooper, who took the 63-year-old former Illinois governor to task on his show Friday night. Per the Hill, Blagojevich unleashed a litany of complaints during their chat, including that "corrupt prosecutors" helped put him away for corruption and attempted extortion, and that he'd been a "political prisoner." "If you were to ask Nelson Mandela whether he thought the process was fair back in the early '60s in South Africa, he would say what I'm saying today," Blagojevich said. He added that his time behind bars had given him plenty of time to reflect on how badly criminal justice reform was needed. Cooper's eyebrows raised at that.

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"It's a little ironic and frankly a little sad and pathetic and hypocritical you talking about you [getting] a commutation of a sentence ... but you ignored a whole hell of a lot of other people who were hoping you might give them clemency when you actually mattered," Cooper told Blagojevich, who conceded he wished he'd "done more." The fireworks continued until the end of the interview, when Cooper wished Blagojevich the best, and Blagojevich balked: "I don't know about that, the way you're asking me questions." Cooper shot back, "Look, I have no problem with you getting out. The president can commute whoever he wants. ... [But] you do have an obligation to at least admit what you did wrong and you refuse to do that. [You're] creating a whole new alternate universe of facts and that may be big in politics today, but it's still frankly just bulls---." Watch their heated exchange here. (Read more Anderson Cooper stories.)

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