Donald Trump's Pardon List Leaves Off Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Reality Winner

High-profile figures Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Reality Winner have missed out on pardons from outgoing President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday—in the final hours of his presidency—Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 people.

Included in the list were Trump's former strategist Steve Bannon, who is facing fraud charges, and the rapper Lil Wayne.

But noticeably absent from the list were Snowden, Assange and Winner, all of whom have been subject to speculation that they may be granted clemency.

Winner, a former government contractor, was incarcerated in 2018 after being sentenced to 63 months for removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.

The classified material in question was a report produced by the National Security Agency (NSA)—who Winner was working for as a translator in 2017. The report discussed Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, suggesting that hackers from the country had accessed voter registration rolls.

Winner leaked the documents to investigative journalism outlet The Intercept—a move that eventually led to her being charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. The act was originally introduced to prosecute spies in wartime but has increasingly been used to target whistleblowers under the Trump and Obama administrations.

Last year, Winner's legal team submitted a petition for clemency to the Department of Justice, but are yet to receive a response. The legal team also filed a motion for compassionate release but this was denied by judges.

Trump had previously described Winner's sentence as "unfair," criticizing then–attorney general Jeff Sessions, and saying her leak was "small potatoes compared to what Hillary Clinton did," in reference to the former Secretary of State's use of a private email server.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange also missed out on a presidential pardon, despite recent calls from his supporters.

Assange is facing 18 federal counts in the U.S. related to his alleged role in obtaining and publishing classified national defence information, including military reports and diplomatic cables from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

He is currently incarcerated in Belmarsh prison in the U.K., and recently won a court battle to avoid extradition to the U.S. But Assange was denied bail, pending a U.S. government appeal against the decision to block his extradition.

Trump also decided not to pardon Edward Snowden, despite calls from some Republicans.
Snowden, a former NSA contractor, has been in exile in Russia since 2013 after he leaked classified information to selected journalists revealing the vast extent of the U.S. government's secret spying operations.

Many in the Republican Party are opposed to a pardon for Snowden, considering him to be a "traitor." Trump himself once described Snowden using this term, saying he was a "spy who should be executed."

But in August last year, Trump said he was considering granting clemency to Snowden, saying "a lot of people" though the whistleblower was "not being treated fairly."

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump walks to the White House residence after exiting Marine One on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. He issued dozens of pardons on his last day in office. Drew Angerer/Getty Images