President Trump’s pardon spree includes former Illinois governor

Rod Blagojevich was released after serving eight years of his 14-year sentence, part of Trump’s pardon spree that granted clemency to multiple white collar criminals.
3:17 | 02/19/20

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Transcript for President Trump’s pardon spree includes former Illinois governor
We begin with president trump's pardons. The former Illinois governor released from prison back home this morning. 1 of 11 people either pardoned or had their sentence commuted by president trump. Most are white collar criminals with personal or financial ties to the president. Cecilia Vega starts us off. She's there at the white house for us. Good morning, Cecilia. Reporter: Robin, good morning to you. President trump is hardly the first to make a controversial pardon but the number of high-profile names who have ties to the president's inner circle and who have made some very big donations to his campaign is raising eyebrows this morning, among them, you said it, rod blagojevich, who is now out of prison years ahead of schedule expected to hold a press conference later this morning. Overnight, disgraced former Illinois governor rod blagojevich released from federal prison in Colorado. Cameras catching up to him before he boarded a flight back home. You had no inkling at all this was about to happen? Not today, no, I did not. I did not. You had no warning? No warning, no. Reporter: Part of president trump's pardon spree that granted clemency to a who's who of big name white collar criminals. I'll do anything legal and ethical and honest. Money money money Reporter: The one time "Apprentice" contestant served eight of his 14 year sentence. The crime caught on tape. I've got this thing and it's Golden. And I'm just not going giving it up for Nothing. Reporter: Blagojevich overnight defiant. But I didn't break any laws. I cross nod lines and this was routine politics and the people that did it are the ones that broke the laws and the ones who, frankly, should meet and face accountability. Reporter: His wife appealing directly to the president on fox News. The president is about justice and fairness and, you know, we hope that he looks at rod. Reporter: And president trump took notice. I watched his wife on television. I don't know him very well. I met him a couple of times. Reporter: Bypassing traditional justice department pardon procedures and relied on recommendations from friends and associates like personal attorney Rudy Giuliani whose former New York City police commissioner Bernie kerik convicted of tax fraud received a pardon. Same for Eddie Debartolo Jr. Who pleaded guilty to concealing an alleged extortion plot. He co-hosted a preinauguration party before president trump took office. Also pardoned a construction magnate who pleaded guilty to underpaying taxes. He and his family donating more than $200,000 to Republicans and the president's re-election campaign. This as president trump faces fresh scrutiny for tweeting about ongoing criminal cases even after his attorney general said the president's tweets make his job, quote, impossible. Now, president trump insisting he has the right to intervene if he wants to. I'm allowed to be totally involved. I'm actually I guess the chief law enforcement officer of the country. Reporter: So president trump was also asked if he plans to pardon his longtime friend and confidant Roger stone. He says he hasn't given it any thought but that he, quote, also said stone has been treated unfairly, stone, George, is set to be sentenced tomorrow. Yeah, that is coming up tomorrow. Cecilia, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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