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Trump Pardons Big Money Rappers, Donors—But Not Whistleblowers

No swamp draining here, as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are hung out to dry.
Donald Trump

During the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, there was endless speculation as to who Trump might pardon. Trump supporters were particularly enthused about the prospect of pardons for whistleblowers like Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, and CIA torture investigator John Kiriakou.

In the end, Trump didn’t pardon any of them. But he did pardon his chief strategist Steve Bannon, who bilked his supporters in a “We Build the Wall” online fundraising scheme; rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black; Elliot Broidy, who according to CNN is “a former top fundraiser for Trump’s campaign who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy relating to a secret lobbying campaign to influence the Trump administration on behalf of a foreign billionaire in exchange for millions of dollars”; as well as many other well-heeled and well-funded donors.

This should come as no surprise.

On Fox News Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson claimed he had heard that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had informed Trump that if he pardoned Assange, Republicans would be “much more likely to convict” Trump during the Senate’s impeachment trial over the Capitol riot on January 6.

On his show, Carlson called on Trump to pardon Assange and Kiriakou anyway. He said that Assange was in jail for “telling the truth.” Back in 2016, candidate Trump said he “loved” Assange’s Wikileaks.

Meanwhile, Democracy Now reported the following:

And from Congressman Thomas Massie:

Trump did find time to issue a last-minute pardon to Albert Pirro, the ex-husband of Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro, who served time in prison for tax evasion and conspiracy.

After the pardon list was released, Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Assange, tweeted:


Many Trump supporters had hoped that “draining the swamp” would also include clemency for Edward Snowden:

Snowden also wrote, “Oh yes, who can forget President Pat Cipollone? No, the failure to pardon Assange falls on one man, and history will remember it was not a White House lawyer.”