Former Army soldier Chelsea ManningChelsea Elizabeth Manning Chelsea Manning tests positive for COVID-19 Julian Assange stripped of Ecuadorian citizenship Biden DOJ to continue to seek Assange extradition MORE on Thursday tweeted her gratitude to President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Congress is hell-bent on a spooky spending spree MORE after he commuted her prison sentence.
Thank you @BarackObama for giving me a chance. =,)— Chelsea Manning (@xychelsea) January 19, 2017
The White House announced Tuesday that Obama would commute Manning’s prison sentence as one of the final acts of his presidency.
Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that was later published by WikiLeaks.
Tuesday’s news came after Manning had already served seven years of a 35-year-sentence, the longest-ever imposed for a leak conviction.
The former soldier was originally slated for release in 2045, but will now regain her freedom on May 17, 2017.
Obama previously condemned Manning’s actions in 2011, arguing the former private, then known as Bradley, “broke the law” and deserved punishment. The outgoing president defended his change of heart Wednesday, however, arguing Manning had paid her debt to society.
“I feel very comfortable that justice has been served,” Obama said, adding that commuting her sentence should not be seen as leniency for those who commit similar offenses.
"Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence," he said. “So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that this is going unpunished I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.”
Obama’s decision came under fire from many Republican lawmakers and even some Democrats.
Manning, who is transgender, reportedly suffered from mental health issues during her incarceration, twice attempting suicide.
The former soldier’s attorney on Tuesday also thanked Obama for ensuring his client’s well-being.
“President Obama acted on the side of justice here,” Chase Strangio said on MSNBC. "And I truly do believe this has saved her life."