Paul calls for lighter sentence for Snowden

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulSenate gears up for fight on Trump's 0B Saudi Arabia arms sale Paul: 0B Saudi arms deal ‘a travesty’ Senate feels pressure for summer healthcare vote 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 SchumerHow Trump can score a big league bipartisan win on infrastructure Overnight Finance: Dems introduce minimum wage bill | Sanders clashes with Trump budget chief | Border tax proposal at death's door GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill 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.