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Sarah Palin joins calls to pardon Assange, condemns previous comments on WikiLeaks founder: ‘I made a mistake’

Sarah Palin joins calls to pardon Assange, condemns previous comments on WikiLeaks founder: ‘I made a mistake’
Former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has joined the chorus of voices calling for a pardon for Julian Assange, despite condemning the “bad guy” in the past.

As rumors swirl of a possible pardon for Assange from outgoing President Donald Trump, more and more advocates have thrown their support behind the WikiLeaks founder – and Sarah Palin is one of the more surprising of those calling for clemency.

“I am the first one to admit when I make a mistake,” Palin said in a video released Saturday through far-right news and opinion website the Gateway Pundit. “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.”

Palin’s own emails were released by WikiLeaks in 2008. In addition to personal emails, it also appeared through the correspondence that she had conducted gubernatorial business through a private Yahoo email account. 

Also on rt.com 'You alone can SAVE HIS LIFE': NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden urges Trump to grant clemency to WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

At the time, Palin asked why Assange had not been pursued with the same urgency as Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. However, she has long since disavowed her comments, publicly apologizing to the Wikileaks founder in 2017 via Facebook, and praising him for opening “people’s eyes to Democrat candidates and operatives.” 

In a 2018 interview to the One America News Network, Palin doubled down, saying she had grown to “appreciate him [Assange] more” and that all of his actions were about “freedom.”  

In the video, posted by the Gateway Pundit’s Cassandra Fairbanks, Palin strikes a similar tone and says Assange “did us all a favor in America ... by fighting for what he believed was right.”

“He was working on the people’s behalf to allow information to get to us so that we could make up our minds about different issues, about different people. He did the right thing,” she said. “I support him, and I hope that more and more people, especially as it comes down to the wire, will speak up in support of pardoning Julian. God bless him.”

While Palin has publicly warmed to Assange in recent years, her support for a pardon, though welcomed by his advocates, surprised many of them.

“Wow never thought I would see Sarah Palin of all people calling for the pardon of Assange,” journalist Luke Rudkowski tweeted in response to the video. 

Assange was arrested last April after seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost seven years. He is currently awaiting potential extradition to the US, where he would face conspiracy and espionage charges that carry a sentence of up to 175 years. 

Calls for Assange have intensified ahead of Joe Biden entering the White House in January, as it is highly unlikely the Democrat would be open to issuing a pardon, having in the past referred to Assange as a “high-tech terrorist.”

Activists have also been pushing for a pardon for Edward Snowden, who has lived in Russia since revealing warrantless government spying programs in 2013. Trump has said recently that he is open to the idea of pardoning Snowden, who has called for “clemency” for Assange over himself. 

Also on rt.com 'You alone can SAVE HIS LIFE': NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden urges Trump to grant clemency to WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

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