White House: Assange tweet didn’t influence Manning decision
Kelly Cohen, Washington Examiner, Jan 17 2017
White House officials insisted on Tuesday that a tweet from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had no bearing on Pres Obama’s decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning. Last September, WikiLeaks said if Obama granted Manning clemency, “Assange will agree to pindo prison in exchange.” But White House officials said that apparent bargain didn’t have any impact on Obama’s decision. A White House official said:
President’s decision to offer commutation was not influenced by public comments by Mr Assange or the WikiLeaks organization. I have no insight into Mr Assange’s travel plans. I can’t speak to any charges or potential charges he may be facing from the Justice Dept. Chelsea Manning accepted responsibility for the crimes she committed and … served more than six years behind bars. The president believes those six years behind bars were sufficient.
When asked if Manning is a traitor, the official took a shot at President-elect Donald Trump. The official said:
Chelsea Manning is somebody who committed a serious crime, went through our criminal justice system, served more than six years behind bars, […] and after accepting responsibility for these crimes had her sentence commuted. As regards to who called her a traitor: That senator endorsed for president a candidate who encouraged a foreign government to hack his opponent.
That’s an apparent reference to Senator Tom Cotton, who released a statement Tuesday saying Manning is a traitor.