CNN's Anderson Cooper clashed with former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in a heated interview Friday night, with Cooper calling "bullshit" on Blagojevich as they talked about his prosecution.
This week, President TrumpDonald John TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff MORE commuted Blagojevich's 14-year sentence after eight years behind bars. Blagojevich's return home from prison was at the center of the interview Friday night before it quickly devolved.
The arguing escalated after Blagojevich alleged he was the target of "corrupt prosecutors” when he was charged with corruption, including attempted extortion.
"I am a political prisoner," former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tells @AndersonCooper, adding "if you were to ask Nelson Mandela whether he thought the process was fair back in the early '60's in South Africa, he would say what I'm saying today." https://t.co/bTlyAqZmL6 pic.twitter.com/Z5ypvNiHAO— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 22, 2020
In which @AndersonCooper calls actual "bullshit" on Blagojevich in fiery interview pic.twitter.com/8oorGogs7s— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) February 22, 2020
Cooper and Blagojevich continued to clash after the former governor said his time in prison showed him the need for criminal justice reform, and Cooper fired back that he didn't do enough as governor to address the issue.
"It's a little ironic and frankly a little sad and pathetic and hypocritical you talking about getting a commutation of a sentence, which is within the president's right, 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 said.
"When you have all the time that I was given to think and look back on some of the things you might have done different, that's certainly an area that you talked about that I wish I had done more on," Blagojevich responded. "There's no question about that. That's among my biggest regrets."
"I didn't know how corrupt the criminal justice system was until they did it to me," he added.
The two continued to go back and forth before Cooper began to wrap up, saying: "I do wish you the best. I'm glad for your family that you're out."
"I don't know about that, the way you're asking me questions," Blagojevich said.
That's when Cooper ended the interview, calling "bullshit" on the former Illinois governor.
"Look, I have no problem with you getting out," Cooper began. "The president can commute whoever he wants. I just think — I wish — you’re besmirching prosecutors who actually are no longer in government, but prosecutors are important in our system and you are going after the very basis of our justice system, which has plenty of problems but, you know, part of the thing is you got out, 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 and that may be big in politics today but it’s still frankly just bullshit.”
Blagojevich shot back "It's not bullshit" before the interview wrapped.
Blagojevich was removed from office in 2009 and was later convicted of a wide array of corruption charges. He was accused of trying to sell former President Obama’s Senate seat after he was elected to the White House in 2008.
He was infamously caught on tape speaking about the pay-for-play scheme involving Obama's seat.
"I've got this thing, and it's f-----g golden. I'm just not giving it up for f-----g nothing," Blagojevich said in a recorded phone call.
The former governor has advocated for a pardon or a reduced sentence for years, appealing directly to Trump in some cases. His wife, Patti, also regularly appeared on Fox News to argue for clemency.