For the second time in a week, US President Donald Trump has indicated that he might be considering pardoning former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. He noted that the issue has long transcended party lines.
Asked if he wants to pardon Snowden at the press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Saturday, Trump responded that while he was “not that aware of the Snowden situation,” he would “start looking at it.”
Trump, who once labelled the former CIA contractor-turned-whistleblower a “trator,” argued that there was no consensus amongst American political establishment on the matter.
“There are many people…it seems to be a split decision,” he said.
Many people think that he, somehow, should be treated differently, other people think he did very bad things… I’m going to take a very good look at it
The attitude towards Snowden is not something that depends on a party affiliation, Trump said, noting that he has seen “many people that are very concersative and very liberal that are agree on the same issue, and they agree both ways.”
It was not long before those who have been clamoring for Snowden’s pardon flocked to Twitter, calling on Trump to clear charges against the former contractor. Among them were Republican congressmen Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky).
Some have called on Trump to pardon not only Snowden, but also Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, arguing that they both were “truth tellers who were prosecuted for sharing the truth.”
Pardon both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. The deep state establishment was spying on our citizens and doing unconstitutional and illegal surveillance on a massive scale.Both truth tellers who were prosecuted for sharing the truth.
— Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) August 16, 2020
Snowden has been charged with espionage and vilified by the US government for leaking a trove of documents exposing warrantless surveillance of American citizens in 2013. On a run from justice, Snowden has been living in exile in Moscow for all these years after he ended up stranded in the Russian capital when his American passport was revoked.
The push for Snowden to be cleared of charges has gained momentum after Trump appeared to have softened his stance on the issue, telling the New York Post earlier this week that many people believed the whistleblower was not being treated fairly.
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