After weeks of speculation and desperate hopes that Donald Trump might be preparing to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and/or WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before leaving office on January 20th, what the latest round of presidential pardons has delivered is about as far from that as you can conceivably imagine.
“In an audacious pre-Christmas round of pardons, President Trump granted clemency on Tuesday to two people convicted in the special counsel’s Russia inquiry, four Blackwater guards convicted in connection with the killing of Iraqi civilians and three corrupt former Republican members of Congress,” the New York Times reports.
I probably don’t need to tell my regular readers this, but a Trump pardon for Assange and Snowden is almost certainly not in the cards. Trump has done nothing but protect the imperial status quo the entire time he’s been in office and a pardon for either of those heroic government transparency advocates would be a deviation from his established patterns unlike anything he’s ever once demonstrated while in office. It’s good to pressure politicians to do the right thing even when they probably won’t, but it’s a safe bet that he won’t.
Story coming shortly from @nytmike and me – Trump pardons or commutes Papadapolous and another Mueller probe target, four men connected to killing Iraqi civilians and 3 corrupt R congressmen
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) December 23, 2020
Trump’s entire term has revealed that virtually everyone, all across the US political spectrum, has been wrong about him. And it’s a testament to the power of media echo chambers that for the most part they remain just as wrong about him as they were four years ago.
To this day, even after four years of evidence to the contrary, Trump supporters still believe their president has been ending the wars, draining the swamp, and fighting the Deep State. They believe he’s fighting the Deep State even after he imprisoned Assange. They believe he’s ending the wars even as he’s ramped up cold war aggressions against Russia, killed tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, vetoed attempts to save Yemen from U.S.-backed genocide,