Rand Paul calls for Trump to pardon Edward Snowden

Trump looking at possible pardon for Edward Snowden

President Trump says he will take a ‘very good look’ at possibly pardoning Edward Snowden and bringing him back to America

Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul reiterated his call for President Trump to pardon Edward Snowden, the whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor who leaked information about classified government surveillance programs in 2013.

In a post published by The Federalist on Thrusday, Paul argued that Snowden should be pardoned for "revealing the unconstitutional spying that was going on, even beyond what was envisioned from the Patriot Act." The senator cited Snowden’s claim that he was motivated to leak information about government data collection after he witnessed James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence,  lie about the program before Congress.

"Barack Obama, trying to protect the Deep State liars, tried to imprison Snowden for being a ‘traitor.’ Joe Biden — an ally of the Deep State and self-proclaimed author of parts of the Patriot Act — would continue the wrongful prosecution," Paul wrote. "But Snowden is no traitor.  He is a true whistleblower who was trying to expose those like Clapper who used Deep State powers in secret to go after Americans."

Snowden has lived in Russia for the last several years to avoid federal prosecution. In an interview with "CBS This Morning" last year, the former CIA employee said he would be willing to return to the U.S. if he was guaranteed a "fair trial" for his actions.

"Snowden should be pardoned," Paul added. "And this president, who distinguished himself as an opponent of the Deep State on issues of war and spying on Americans, should be the one to do it."

President Trump prompted a fierce debate among Republicans regarding Snowden’s fate in August when he said he was "going to take a very good look" at his case for a potential pardon. At the time, outgoing Attorney General William Barr described Snowden as a "traitor" and said he was "vehemently opposed" to a pardon.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., slammed calls for Trump to pardon Snowden earlier this month, tweeting that the whistleblower "is NOT a victim."

"Snowden has American blood on his hands and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Graham wrote. "Snowden betrayed his country, sought shelter in Putin’s Russia, and put American lives at risk — as well as those who risked their lives to help us in foreign lands."

Other figures, including Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, have called for Trump to grant a pardon.

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