Edward Snowden Tells Trump To Pardon Julian Assange

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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American whistleblower Edward Snowden urged President Donald Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange instead of himself on Thursday.

Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted in November begging Trump to “consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.” (RELATED: ‘Since You’re Giving Pardons To People’: Tulsi Gabbard Has A Shortlist Of Names For Trump)

Both Snowden and Assange were included in Gabbard’s list, and Trump himself has raised the possibility of pardoning Snowden in the past. The president said back in August that he would “take a very good look at” pardoning the whistleblower, who formally worked as a National Security Agent, the New York Times previously reported.

“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,” Snowden tweeted at Trump on Thursday.

Assange is currently in prison in the UK and faces multiple years in jail after being charged by a federal grand jury in the U.S. with his role in the WikiLeaks hacking incident. Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since 2013.

Trump’s contemplation marks a change for the president, who has called Snowden a “spy who should be executed” as well as a “traitor” in past years, according to the NYT. Gabbard’s call for a pardon comes after Trump issued a full pardon to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.