Will the current U.S. President Donald Trump pardon a well-known person?
Recently, Trump pardoned a Navy Seal platoon leader Eddie Gallagher. After Trump cleared Gallagher’s controversial war crimes, news outlets suggested that the president is eyeing discussing the possibility of issuing pardons for his family members and some close associates.
The series of clemency reports done by the current president could be why the known whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden tweeted Trump suggesting to grant former Wikileaks founder Julian Assange clemency during his last days in office.
In a tweet, Snowden said,
“Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange. You alone can save his life.”
Who is Julian Assange?
As mentioned earlier, Assange is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. He gained public attention after WikiLeaks became a popular name internationally in 2010.
The WikiLeaks founder has been fighting extradition since he got arrested.
The first ruling is expected on January 4, 2021. He was arrested and requested political asylum in Ecuador (where he lived that year) because of breaking pre-trial release conditions in a 2012 U.K. case. He is now in custody in London, U.K.
In May 2019, U.S. authorities charged Assange for conspiring to leak U.S. sensitive information. Later on, a new charge got filed against him, which included accusations that he tried to recruit famous hacker groups like Anonymous and LulzSec to steal sensitive files for publishing on WikiLeaks.
Why Snowden pleases Trump to free Assange?
Previous reports revealed that Assange had a history of depression. His psychiatrist also added he had a hallucination in the past and was at high risk of committing suicide.
These mental health issues are the reasons why Assange’s lawyer is worried if he will be extradited to the U.S. The same concerns had also been used as the central piece of his defense case.
With that, the known NSA whistleblower also cited these issues on why Assange should be pardoned–to avoid possible suicide.
In a previous report, the president also considered pardoning both Snowden and Assange after a Hawaii House representative, Tulsi Gabbard, suggested him to pardon them. Gabbard also introduced a bill to have the 2013 legal case against Snowden dropped and allow him to return to the U.S. in October.
Unfortunately, it seems Snowden’s request comes at the wrong time because the White House has been recently embroiled in a bribery-for-pardon scheme. This week, the District Court in Washington, D.C., released 20 pages of heavily redacted documents. However, these documents do not identify who is being investigated nor the alleged scheme’s time and date.
An official from the Justice Department told CNN,
“no government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing.”
As of the moment, the White House refuses to give comments regarding the issue.