Donald Trump Reveals Why He Didn’t Pardon Julian Assange
'You have two sides of it'
Donald Trump came under enormous pressure toward the end of his presidency to pardon Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which he ultimately did not do, leaving many of his pro-free speech supporters confused.
Trump said he was “very close to going the other way."
During an interview with the Daily Wire’s Candace Owens, Trump was asked why he failed to issue pardons to Assange and National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Snowden.
“You have two sides of it,” Trump said.
Trump explains to Candace Owens why he started the prosecution of Assange and didn't pardon Assange/Snowden. pic.twitter.com/EknNzx4A4n— V 🦑 (@Vedthalegend) December 22, 2021
He then described their separate situations as, “sort of a spy deal going on” and “somebody that’s exposing real corruption,” concluding he felt “a little bit more strongly about one than the other," but didn't specify which.
Earlier this year, media reports indicated Trump had been convinced that pardoning Assange or a Snowden pardon would upset Senate Republicans, which was time sensitive due to them gearing up to vote in his impeachment trial.
“There [were] some spying things, and there [were] some bad things released that really set us back and really hurt us with what they did,” he said, according to the Daily Wire.
During the opening stages of Assange’s extradition hearing in London in 2020, the journalist had been offered a pardon for pinning the origin of hacked Democratic emails sent during the 2016 presidential campaign.
But such claims were denied by the White House and said Trump “barely” knew the Republican congressman through which the deal was offered.
The congressman said he made the proposal on his own initiative, and the White House had not endorsed it.
Trump then decided to let the issue be handled in the courtroom.
“I guess the courts are actually doing that,” he said.
Assange is now being held in a UK prison while it was ruled he can now be extradited to the US to stand trial on espionage charges.
The Wikileaks founder faces 175 years in prison if convicted.
Meanwhile, his physical health has deteriorated during his 20 months in prison.
Snowden has also remained a fugitive from the US since whistleblowing on the NSA for unconstitutional spying on the American public in 2013.
Last year, Trump said he was “looking” at Snowden’s case and noted he had “not been treated fairly.”
Trump had previously referred to the former NSA contractor as a “spy who should be executed.”