Administration

Assange, Snowden among those not included on Trump pardon list

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden were among the high-profile individuals not included on President Trump's list of more than 100 individuals granted clemency released early Wednesday in his final hours in office. 

Defenders of Assange and Snowden had advocated for Trump to issue pardons for the two for the charges they currently face in the United States. 

Earlier this month, a judge in the United Kingdom ruled against a request to extradite Assange to the U.S., where he faces espionage charges after publishing classified American military and intelligence documents. The judge cited Assange's mental condition and said it would be "oppressive" to extradite him. 

Assange is being held in London after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been living, in 2019.

Among those who urged Trump to grant Assange clemency was Snowden.

"Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange. You alone can save his life" Snowden wrote in a December tweet.

Others had pushed for Trump to grant clemency to Snowden, who faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison if convicted on charges of conspiring to hack government computers and for violating the 1917 Espionage Act for "unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence." 

Snowden, after releasing classified documents on surveillance programs, fled to Hong Kong and later to Moscow to seek asylum. Snowden announced in November that he and his wife planned to apply for Russian citizenship to keep their family together following the birth of their child. 

Following the White House's release of Trump's final list of presidential pardons, Snowden tweeted that he was "not at all disappointed to go unpardoned by a man who has never known a love he had not paid for."

Snowden also issued a tweet Tuesday ahead of the clemency list's release suggesting that Trump could decide not to pardon Assange, "mistakenly believing Senate Republicans won't vote to impeach him if he caves."

"Once he's out of power, they're going to vote to impeach him anyway. Which, well--that's one way to be remembered," Snowden said of Trump, who faces an impending Senate impeachment trial over his role in provoking the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. 

Assange's mother, Christine Assange, took to Twitter to say she was "not shocked" but "disappointed" by Trump's decision to not pardon her son, who she wrote was "brutally persecuted for doing more to expose the deep state than any other journalist in history." 

"My private prediction was right," she added. "Courage is not always contagious." 

Among those not included in Wednesday's wave of pardons was the star of the hit Netflix docuseries "Tiger King," Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldano-Passage. 

Maldano-Passage submitted an application asking for a pardon in September, alleging that prosecutors lied in his case that resulted in a 22-year federal prison sentence for his involvement in a murder-for-hire scheme against fellow "Tiger King" star Carole Baskin. 

Eric Love, an attorney for Maldano-Passage, told ABC News in December that he believed they were "very, very close" to receiving a pardon from Trump.

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