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Republican congressman renews call to pardon Snowden, says Trump is ‘listening’ to people pushing for it

“President Trump is listening to the many of us who are urging him to #PardonSnowden,” Gaetz tweeted on Sunday in response to reporter Glenn Greenwald’s own call for the pardon.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Gaetz added.

Snowden himself shared the Florida congressman’s tweet, as well as another calling for a pardon from Rep. Justin Amash (L-Michigan).

Greenwald, who reported on Snowden’s revelations about the NSA spying on American citizens without warrants or their knowledge, said a pardon would be “a huge victory against CIA/FBI/NSA abuses.”

While the president took a hard stance on Snowden’s whistleblowing during his presidential campaign, he has changed his view in recent months, saying he is open to granting a pardon to the former CIA and NSA contractor. 

Lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) have also thrown their support behind the effort to clear Snowden’s name.

Snowden, who had to take refuge in Russia in 2013 to escape prosecution, has shared messages of support through Twitter, but said recently that if Trump granted “only one act of clemency” during his time in office, it should be a pardon of WikiLeaks founder Julain Assange, who is currently in a UK jail awaiting a judge’s ruling on whether he will be extradited to the US. He is facing an 18-count indictment for alleged espionage and conspiracy crimes. 

Trump is viewed by many as Snowden’s only hope for a pardon in the near future as Joe Biden’s administration will likely take a much firmer stance once entering the White House in January. Former President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served, refused requests to pardon Snowden before he left office. 

Former Obama officials and future Biden advisors such as Susan Rice have also taken a hardline stance on Snowden.

Snowden also revealed last year that Biden was allegedly threatening countries with “consequences” if they granted him asylum.

“Every time one of these governments got close to opening their doors, the phone would ring in their foreign ministries,” he told MSNBC. “And on the other end of the line would be a very senior American official. It was one of two people: then-Secretary of State John Kerry or then-Vice President Joe Biden.” 

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