(PresidentialWire.com)- Lindsay Graham, the on-again-off-again ally of President Donald Trump and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, melted down over rumors that the president is considering pardoning leaker Edward Snowden. The South Carolina senator took to Twitter on Tuesday to slam the president’s reported consideration of a pardon labelling Snowden a “traitor.”
Graham also said that Snowden, who is a former United States government contractor who is currently wanted on charges of leaking classified information to the press back in 2013, has American blood on his hands. He even claimed that leaking documents from the National Security Agency, which revealed how the United States government had sweeping powers to spy on the American people, resulted in deaths.
Snowden betrayed his country, sought shelter in Putin’s Russia, and put American lives at risk — as well as those who risked their lives to help us in foreign lands.
To pardon Snowden would be a betrayal of all those who have sacrificed since 9/11 to protect our nation.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 15, 2020
“Snowden betrayed his country, sought shelter in Putin’s Russia, and put American lives at risk – as well as those who risked their lives to help us in foreign lands,” he said.
But Snowden hit back the next day, also on Twitter, denying that his leaking of NSA documents, which revealed massive surveillance operations, ever resulted in any deaths.
“In seven years, no one has named a single American who died as a result of revealing the unlawful program of domestic mass surveillance-because it didn’t happen,” Snowden said.
Which is true.
“But exposing that crime did reform American laws- and strengthen our rights,” he added.
Snowden continues to live in Russia, where he is safe from extradition to face charges of violating the United States Espionage Act.
Graham has long opposed a pardon for Snowden, which would allow him to return to the United States or at least be free from the risk of prosecution, but legislators from both sides of the aisle have recently called on President Trump to make the historic decision to pardon him. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a populist Republican, said on Monday that the president would be “well-served” to pardon him, and former Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has put out several videos and comments urging for Snowden to be pardoned.
The president has also previously said that Snowden was a traitor, but it’s widely understood that this might gave been a measure to maintain his Republican base.
Things seem very different now, with Republicans more willing than ever to support those who pose a threat to the establishment.
Could this happen?