Trump ‘seriously considering’ pardoning Julian Assange

Former President Donald Trump suggested he would pardon Julian Assange, the activist behind Wikileaks

When asked on the podcast TimcastIRL before Trump’s speech at the Libertarian convention Saturday if he would pardon Assange if he won a second term in the Oval Office, Trump said the decision was in “very serious consideration.”

“We’re going to give it very serious consideration, and we’re going to have a couple of other things to say in the speech that I think you’re going to love,” Trump said in an answer that did not confirm one way or another if he would pardon Assange. 

Last week, Assange was granted the right to challenge his extradition to the U.S. The U.S. has been trying to extradite him to be charged on U.S. soil since 2019. In the U.S., he is facing charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables and is alleged to have conspired with hackers.

President Joe Biden has also floated the idea of ending the U.S. case against Assange, answering “we’re considering it,” when asked about a request by Australia’s government to pursuing the case as Assange is Australian.

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Trump pledged Saturday to use his clemency powers to pardon rioters who participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as one of his first acts as president. But he also pledged to commute the life sentence of “Silk Road” website creator Ross Ulbrich during his speech.

Ulbrich is currently serving a federal prison sentence for creating, owning, and operating the darknet market website Silk Road from 2011 to 2013. U.S. law enforcement has described Silk Road as “a sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace” and “sprawling black-market bazaar” where more than 100,000 users were able to buy illegal services.

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