NSA whistleblower petitions Trump for clemency

Reality Winner, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower jailed for leaking classified information on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, petitioned President TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE for clemency Monday.

Winner's attorney Alison Grinter said in a press conference in Dallas that she will submit the petition to the federal office of the pardon attorney, who advises the president on pardons. 

She also plans to send 4,500 letters of support, including ones from privacy and free press advocates, according to The Intercept.

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Winner was sentenced to five years and three months starting in August 2018 after admitting to giving classified information about Russia’s attempts to hack local elections before the 2016 election to an investigative news website, The Guardian reported.

“Our national healing process cannot begin until we forgive our truth-tellers and begin the job of rebuilding what was taken from us: election security, accountability for those who endeavor to undermine our democracy; and safeguarding the American right to government by and for the people,” Grinter said at the conference. “None of this can begin in earnest while we are still punishing those who tell us the truth.”

The petition alleges that Winner's imprisonment is “costly, unnecessary to protect the public, burdensome to her health and wellbeing, and not commensurate with the severity of her offense.”

The president previously commented on Winner’s sentencing in an August 2018 tweet, in which he specifically criticized then-Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Guidance on masks is coming The Hill's Campaign Report: Coronavirus forces Democrats to postpone convention Roy Moore to advise Louisiana pastor arrested for allegedly defying ban on large gatherings MORE and called Winner’s crimes “‘small potatoes’ compared to what Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Poll shows Biden with 6-point edge on Trump in Florida Does Joe Biden really want to be president? MORE did," in an apparent reference to the private email server Clinton kept as secretary of State.

Winner has said in a 2018 interview with CBS News that she “can’t thank him enough” for the tweet.

"I don't like to assume anything as to what's going on in his head, but the 'small potatoes' was a breath of fresh air. It really made me laugh. It reminded me of me and my own family. We try to make a joke out of everything. We laugh every single day no matter how bad things get, and he really gave a whole sense of humor to the thing 'cause it is quite bizarre," she said.