CNN anchor Anderson Cooper grilled Rod Blagojevich, who had his prison sentence commuted by President Trump this week, when the former governor of Illinois said on air Friday evening that he supports criminal justice reform after his time in prison.

Why it matters: These heated interactions have grown more common on cable news "in an era of intense political polarization and in an administration defined in part by its overt hostility to the news media. Rarely does a host of Cooper’s stature use such blunt language to criticize a guest, and interviewees seldom respond in kind," the Washington Post writes.

What they're saying:

Cooper: "You ignored a whole hell of a lot of other people who were hoping you might give them clemency when you actually mattered ... I'd be happy to work with people on criminal justice reform, but I wouldn't work with you."

Blagojevich: "Look, when you've been put where I was and you have all the time that I was given to think and look back at on some of the things you might've done different, that's certainly an area you talked about that I wish I'd done more on ... I didn't know how corrupt the criminal justice system was until it did it to me...When the cases came to me and I was given files about people who were seeking clemency or pardons, I acted appropriately."

Cooper: "Actually, they sat on your desk and that's why you were sued."

Context: Trump announced on Tuesday that he would commute Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption.

  • Blagojevich, who was eight years into his sentence, first asked to be commuted in 2018.

Reality check: Cooper mentions Blagojevich was sued as governor for delaying clemency requests.

  • An NPR report from 2008 shows Blagojevich was sued by a group of convicted felons for not responding to their clemency requests.
  • During his tenure, Blagojevich's office received around 3,000 clemency requests, and granted 89 pardons at the time of the report.

Go deeper: Trump pardons the swamp

Go deeper

Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,393,591 — Total deaths: 950,344— Total recoveries: 20,679,272Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,722,699 — Total deaths: 198,484 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.