President Trump Urged to Pardon Assange, Snowden (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 17 December 2020 04:16 PM
Supporters of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are asking President Donald Trump to pardon the classified-information leakers before leaving office.
Assange, a 49-year-old Australian, has been accused of overseeing the website WikiLeaks' publishing of classified U.S. military and diplomatic material. He was the WikiLeaks publisher at the time.
Snowden, a 37-year-old North Carolina native, is a former U.S. government contractor who admittedly leaked classified documents exposing the U.S. National Security Agency's vast domestic and international surveillance operations in 2013.
Supporters of the two men, both facing criminal charges, are urging President Trump to pardon them before Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20 to deal a blow to the "deep state," per the Washington Times.
A presidential pardon, granted by the U.S. Constitution, forgives a person of a crime or excuses a convicted person from punishment.
Both Snowden, living in Russia, and Assange, awaiting extradition in a London prison, caused embarrassment to former President Barack Obama and his administration.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wrote that President Trump should pardon Snowden in an opinion piece on Thursday.
"[The president] should pardon Edward Snowden for revealing the unconstitutional spying that was going on, even beyond what was envisioned from the Patriot Act,'' Paul wrote in The Federalist.
"It is important to remember that Snowden leaked information about unconstitutional spying and was motivated to do so after watching Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lie about it under oath."
Paul added, "[Clapper] and others like him in the Deep State abused power and shredded the Constitution. And Snowden exposed them."
Stella Morris, Assange's fiancée and mother of his two children, has begged President Trump to pardon her partner.
"Julian doesn’t face a fair trial in the U.S.," Morris said on Wednesday's Fox News program "Tucker Carlson Tonight." "He will be tried in Alexandria, Virginia, where the jury pool will be composed of the people who live in Virginia, who have a preponderance of people who work for security contractors and the deep state. And essentially once he gets to the U.S., he will be in the hands of the deep state.
"That’s why I pleaded with the president to show the mercy that the deep state will not show Julian if he is extradited."