Former U.S. President Donald Trump explained why he did not pardon former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his tenure as White House head.
He noted that the case “against a man who uncovered real corruption” caused him “strong feelings.” But the former U.S. leader chose not to press the investigation.
At the same time, Trump did not specify whether he was talking about Snowden or Assange.
“I could do that [pardon him], but I will say this – there are people with different points of view on this issue, on both sides of this case. And there are bad people on one side. And I’ve decided, let the court do its job,” he told The Daily Wire.
The actions of the other defendant have been called a “spy deal” by the former president.
In August 2020, then-U.S. President Donald Trump promised to review the Snowden case and consider pardoning him. In the end, however, the politician did not pardon Snowden. He, in turn, noted that he was not upset by what had happened.
In June 2013, former U.S. intelligence officer Edward Snowden gave classified material to The Guardian and The Washington Post with information about comprehensive surveillance in 60 countries of more than a billion people by the governments of 35 countries, about Internet surveillance programs for British and American intelligence officers, as well as about the U.S. surveillance of officials and citizens around the world.
On December 10, the Court of Appeal in England and Wales overturned a ban on Assange’s extradition to the United States. The case will go back to the trial court, which had previously ruled that the man could not be extradited to the States because of the risk of his suicide. The court’s decision also stated that Assange must remain in custody.
The WikiLeaks founder is currently in UK custody. In 2019, Washington charged him with 18 counts, including violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to hack into a government computer. The journalist faces 175 years in prison in the U.S.