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Pence: 'Mistake' to commute sentence for 'traitor' Chelsea Manning

Pence: 'Mistake' to commute sentence for 'traitor' Chelsea Manning
© Greg Nash

Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOvernight Health Care: Following debate, Biden hammers Trump on coronavirus | Study: Universal mask-wearing could save 130,000 lives | Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight Democrats play defense, GOP goes on attack after Biden oil comments McConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session MORE on Wednesday blasted President Obama's decision to commute former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence.

“To commute Private Manning's sentence was a mistake," Pence said in a pre-recorded interview with Fox News that will be broadcast Wednesday evening.

The vice president-elect echoed the words of Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonCotton mocks NY Times over claim of nonpartisanship, promises to submit op-eds as test Barrett fight puts focus on abortion in 2020 election COVID outbreak threatens GOP's Supreme Court plans MORE (R-Ark.), who on Tuesday said Obama treated "a traitor like a martyr.”

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"Private Manning is a traitor and should not have been turned into a martyr, as Senator Cotton said. Private Manning's actions compromised our national security, endangered American personnel downrange, compromised individuals in Afghanistan who were cooperating with our forces by leaking 750,000 documents to WikiLeaks," Pence noted.

Manning was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information about U.S. national security that was later published by WikiLeaks.

Manning's sentence was the longest penalty imposed for leaking classified documents.

Other GOP officials, including incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer, also criticized Obama's commutation of Manning’s prison sentence.

"After the outrage we’ve seen about the other leaks that have come up, to see someone who has given away the country’s secrets and then convicted of it ... it’s disappointing and it sends a very troubling message when it comes to the handling of classified information,” Spicer said on Wednesday.