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Paul calls for lighter sentence for Snowden

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon: War in Afghanistan will cost billion in 2018 Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Rand Paul calls for punishment if Congress can't reach a long-term budget deal MORE (R-Ky.) suggested Sunday that Edward Snowden deserved a lighter sentence for his leaks, but stopped short of saying he deserved clemency.

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Paul, a staunch critic of the federal government’s surveillance tactics, said on ABC’s “This Week” that he believes Snowden has sought refuge in Russia because he’s afraid of potentially getting the death penalty or a life sentence.

“I think, personally, he probably would come home for some penalty of a few years of prison,” Paul said.

The Kentucky Republican reiterated that he thinks James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, also deserves to go to jail for what Paul believes were lies told to Congress, and that Snowden’s leaks were valuable.

“History is going to judge that he revealed great abuses of our government and great abuses of our intelligence community,” Paul said.

But Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Trump called for unity — he didn’t even last a week Overnight Defense: GOP plays hardball by attaching defense funding to CR | US reportedly drawing down in Iraq | Russia, US meet arms treaty deadline | Why the military wants 6B from Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) disagreed with Paul, saying that Snowden should come back to face trial for his leaks. Part of the tradition of civil disobedience that Snowden is claiming, Schumer says, is to face trial for your actions, like Martin Luther King Jr. did.

“Being helped by Russia and China, is not in the tradition of a true civil disobedience practitioner,” Schumer said on “This Week.”

The New York Democrat added that a Snowden trial would shed needed light on the government’s surveillance practices, including its affect on American citizens.

“It would be beneficial to the country to have the discussion,” Schumer said.