Today President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 209 people and pardoned 64 others. In all, Obama has commuted the sentences of 1,385 people (the most commutations of any president in history) and pardoned 212 others.
Without a doubt, however, the highest profile commutation announced today was that of Chelsea Manning. The Army intelligence analyst (formerly Bradley Manning) was convicted in 2010 of leaking information about American military and diplomatic activities across the world. She revealed these secrets to the nonprofit open government group WikiLeaks, which was recently implicated in election hacking.
Manning, 29, was supposed to remain in prison until 2045, but she will now be freed May 17, 2017.
The pardon announcement also led many journalists to speculate that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may finally be extradited to the United States for his alleged wrongdoing.
Why did they wonder about that? Because WikiLeaks itself tweeted about it five days ago:
The tweet links to a letter sent in August from Assange’s lawyer Michael J. Pollock to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in which Pollock orders Lynch to close the investigation against Assange because of the “Clinton precedent” (the fact that the Department of Justice did not press charges against Hillary Clinton). Pollack writes that Assange, like Clinton, did not have criminal intent because WikiLeaks aims only to “inform the public” with its “newsgathering and reporting activities.”
Lynch did not respond to the August letter, which seemingly led to Wikileaks’ newly tweeted tactic.
Most of WikiLeaks’ followers urged Assange not to go through with the extradition plan when it was first posted:
But following the Manning announcement, many reporters are (somewhat sarcastically) wondering if Assange will go through with it:
While WikiLeaks sent out a tweet congratulating Manning, there’s no official word from Assange on extradition yet.