McConnell reportedly threatens Trump: If you pardon Assange, we’re more likely to convict you in impeachment trial

President Donald Trump has reportedly been “bullied” by outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into not pardoning Julian Assange, the founder of the award-winning whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks.

Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leader of Republicans in the Senate, has sent word over to the White House, if you pardon Julian Assange, we are much more likely to convict you in an impeachment trial,” Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reported late Tuesday.

Carlson’s report on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight was one of several confirming this.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, American whistleblower and international fugitive Edward Snowden, who also has been seeking a pardon, reported that “Trump has let himself be bullied out of pardoning Assange, mistakenly believing Senate Republicans won’t vote to impeach him if he caves.”

Snowden meant “convict.”

Reports that Trump has let himself be bullied out of pardoning Assange, mistakenly believing Senate Republicans won’t vote to impeach him if he caves.

Once he’s out of power, they’re going to vote to impeach him anyway. Which, well——that’s one way to be remembered. #Politics

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 19, 2021

CNN also provided confirmation.

“Trump is also not expected to pardon Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, whose roles in revealing US secrets infuriated official Washington. While he had once entertained the idea, Trump decided against it because he did not want to anger Senate Republicans who will soon determine whether he’s convicted during his Senate trial,” the outlet reported.

“Multiple GOP lawmakers had sent messages through aides that they felt strongly about not granting clemency to Assange or Snowden. As he departs office, Trump has expressed real concern that Republicans could turn on him. A conviction in the Senate impeachment trial would limit his future political activities and strip him of some of the government perks of being an ex-president.”

Continuing his remarks on Fox, Carlson slammed McConnell and his ostensibly Republican peers for siding with Washington’s “uniparty” and effectively blocking the pardon of Assange and John Kiriakou, the whistleblower who’d exposed the government’s waterboarding of terrorists.

“It tells you everything about their priorities. At a time when this country in some ways is coming apart — we’re at a pivot point in American history, and if you’re watching this show, you probably feel pretty threatened, and for good reason. There are people on other channels saying they’re going to hunt you down like a terrorist,” he said.

“At that moment, what is Mitch McConnell — your designated defender in the United States Senate — worrying about? He’s worrying about protecting the “uniparty” in Washington. They’re the reason both these men have been locked up — because both these men embarrassed permanent Washington. That’s their crime, and his priority in the final hours of the Trump administration is to make certain that they remain punished for doing that.”

What exactly is this “uniparty” that Carlson referenced? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and non-establishment critical thinker Glenn Greenwald wrote about it in a SubStack blog post published Tuesday.

He noted that “ruling class elites” don’t really “care about ‘right v. left’ and most definitely do not care about ‘Republican v. Democrat.'”

They — a unified coalition of Republicans and Democrats — only care about the “preservation of the prevailing neoliberal order.”

“Unlike so many ordinary citizens addicted to trivial partisan warfare, these ruling class elites know who their real enemies are: anyone who steps outside the limits and rules of the game they have crafted and who seeks to disrupt the system that preserves their prerogatives and status,” Greenwald opined.

The combined opposition from the establishment left and establishment right to a pardon for Assange suggests this theory is indeed correct.

Released early Wednesday morning, the president’s list of pardons wound up indeed not containing the names of either Assange or Snowden — or Kiriakou.

Trump pardons 73 people, incl Bannon, and commutes sentences of 70 others. #Snowden, #Assange, #Ulbricht, #JoeExotic not among those pardoned. https://t.co/VT76vvtL96 via @CBSPolitics

— Jessica Hayes (@JessicaHayesTV) January 20, 2021

This news will no doubt come as a disappointment to the wide array of non-establishment voices who’ve lobbied for Assange’s pardon, including but not limited to former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Speaking in Assange’s defense last month, Palin admitted to having made a mistake when, years ago, she’d condemned the WikiLeaks founder.

“I made a mistake some years ago, not supporting Julian Assange — thinking that he was a bad guy, that he leaked material that perhaps he shouldn’t — and I’ve learned a lot since then,” she said.

“I think Julian did the right thing, and Julian did us all a favor in America, did the world a favor by fighting for what he believed was right — and ultimately he’s been proven to be right,” Palin continued. “He deserves a pardon. He deserves all of us to understand more about what he has done in the name of real journalism, and that’s getting to the bottom of issues that the public really needs to hear about and benefit from.”

‘I made a mistake’: Sarah Palin calls on Americans to ‘speak out’ in support of Julian Assange pardon https://t.co/uuCUE0ReIp pic.twitter.com/blzrfOU99R

— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 20, 2020

The president could still change his mind. His pardon/clemency powers will last up until noon Wednesday. However, a change of heart is unlikely.

What remains to be seen is whether or not the president’s capitulation will save him.

McConnell “has told allies he hopes never to speak to Mr. Trump again and is doing nothing to persuade senators to back him, instead he is calling the impeachment vote a matter of conscience,” The New York Times has confirmed.

Vivek Saxena

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