POLITICS

Republican Congressman Admits to Asking Trump for Two Pardons

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) admitted on Wednesday night that he had asked former President Donald Trump for two pardons and a commutation — and he said that he had asked the same of President Joe Biden.

Massie’s admission comes against the backdrop of the ongoing January 6 Committee hearings and claims from Congresswoman Liz Cheney that a number of Republicans had preemptively asked Trump for pardons — specifically because of their actions related to Jan. 6.

“I have an admission to make,” Massie tweeted. “I asked Trump for TWO pardons and a commutation, and I ask the same of Biden. Pardon Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, and commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht.”

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Assange, who now faces possible extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States, released military secrets via Wikileaks and has spent the last several years incarcerated in the U.K. He was previously removed from Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2019. The U.S. Justice Department has filed charges against Assange pursuant to the Espionage Act, alleging that the documents he released were classified.

President Trump reportedly considered a pardon for Snowden — a move strongly opposed by then Attorney General William Barr — who was a former National Security Agency contractor charged with leaking classified information. Snowden leaked information to journalists in 2013 indicating that an NSA terrorist-tracking program had also collected data from millions of Americans’ phone calls. He claimed that he leaked the information because the data collection was a civil rights violation — and after he leaked the information he fled the U.S., first heading to Hong Kong and then to Russia.

Ross Ulbricht is currently serving a double life sentence plus 40 years without parole for his role in creating and operating the dark-net market site Silk Road. The anonymous site — which used bitcoin in order to keep sales untraceable — facilitated illegal sales of narcotics and other things. Ulbricht operated the site from 2011-2013 until he was arrested, and in 2015 he was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic fraudulent identity documents, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics by means of the internet.

In addition to his serious request for Ulbricht’s commutation and pardons for Snowden and Assange, Massie appeared to be poking fun at the January 6 Committee and the claims that Republicans had begged Trump for pardons for themselves.

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