Tulsi Gabbard wants Trump to pardon two whistleblowers she says ‘exposed’ the ‘deep state’
President Donald Trump acted in the interest of justice to pardon his former national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who arguably was the subject of an FBI probe based on politics rather than an actual crime.
Now, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard believes Trump should do likewise for whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.
“Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state,” the Hawaii Democrat, a former presidential contender, tweeted at Trump on Thanksgiving Day. In doing so, Gabbard reprised a tweet she offered nearly two months ago when she filed a bill calling for revising the 1917 Espionage Act in order to protect whistleblowers.
.@realDonaldTrump Since you're giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state. https://t.co/aeXklUsNSd
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) November 26, 2020
Russia granted Snowden, a former U.S. government contractor, asylum in 2013. He fled the country after exposing the National Security Agency’s massive spying regime that worked in conjunction with U.S. allies to target terrorists but which also hoovered up phone and email records of American citizens. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, released documents in 2016 that were hacked from the Democratic National Committee that showed how the DNC worked with Hillary Clinton’s campaign to undercut rival Sen. Bernie Sanders. But the federal government has indicted Assange for WikiLeaks’ release of leaks about military operations in the Middle East by former Army whistleblower Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning.
Both men could face severe consequences from a Joe Biden administration.
It was widely reported in 2013 that Biden urged Ecuador to reject Snowden’s request for asylum. NBC News reported at the time that Biden told that nation’s leader Snowden should be extradited to the U.S. if he landed in Ecuador. Last year, Snowden said that Biden and then-Secretary of State John Kerry worked to have his asylum request scuttled in 27 different countries by threatening them with unspecified consequences. On Wednesday, Snowden told the journalist Glenn Greenwald that the Obama administration escalated the “war on whistleblowers” that began under President George W. Bush, and said Biden would do nothing to slow the degradation of press freedom.
Meanwhile, Biden in 2014 called Assange a “high-tech terrorist” who did considerable damage to U.S. national security. An extradition hearing for Assange is scheduled for early January. Assange’s lawyer has said his client would fare worse if Trump was re-elected. But if he is extradited to the U.S., Assange’s role in the DNC hacks makes it seem unlikely that Biden will retreat from prosecuting someone he once called a terrorist.
Gabbard, in her video, noted that she filed bills calling for all charges to be dropped against Snowden, saying their revelations of the government’s violations of civil liberties and criminal activity were in the public interest. Gabbard added that her overhaul of the Espionage Act would allow the accused to explain the motives for their actions in court, something they are now denied.
“I’m urging my colleagues in Congress to stand up for the American people, to stand up for our freedoms,” she said.
GOP Congressmen Matt Gaetz of Florida and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, as well as Rep. Justin Amash, a former Republican turned independent, have signed on as co-sponsors of Gabbard’s measures.