“President Trump should pardon Julian Assange. Don’t degrade your voters when leaving office. Defend the Bill of Rights.” This was part of Tucker Carlson’s criticism (and advice) on his show last night.
In the most recent episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host faced the strange and uncertain situation of the pardons to be issued by President Trump in his last hours as America’s president in office. Carlson was especially critical on this occasion, attacking the White House’s viewpoint and approach to pardons, and the need for a pardon for Julian Assange.
In the most controversial segment of the program, he noted his skepticism of the bipartisan consensus when he said that “institutional Washington is especially dangerous when there is consensus; when it stops defending the will of the voters and starts defending its own will. Because more than ‘participating in senseless wars,’ what most unites the establishments of both political parties is the leakage of classified information that harms the permanent political class,” the host said.
“That is a serious threat to national security,” he exclaimed, imitating the officials he was criticizing. “But if it is information that helps them,” he contrasted, “then it is an act of good faith.”
“Son, you have a Pulitzer,” he continued, pointing out the double standard of the American establishment.
Highlighting their hypocrisy, he recalled that there was no problem when the FBI revealed to the Washington Post about “the diabolical Putin who secretly rules our country.” “It was a lie, but it was not a problem [for them],” he stressed. On the same issue, he continued to explain that when leaks involve people in power, that is a national crisis and that “someone should go to jail!”
Carlson on Assange
As was the case with Julian Assange, he said. “[Assange] is rotting in a London jail for leaking information that the government wanted to keep secret – not to protect us – but to protect themselves,” he told his audience.
And he continued: “Assange published information about what was happening at the highest levels of the Democratic National Committee. For humiliating our elected leaders and the media class,” Carlson said, “his life has been destroyed. Assange has been locked up for almost a decade.”
Carlson claims that Assange’s case is not one of espionage, because he did not spy. Nor is it a case of treason, he ruled out. “It’s not even American,” he recalled. It is, for Carlson, the criminalization of freedom of expression.
In the midst of his argument, Carlson recalls the interview he conducted with the activist’s wife in which she asks: “Does the president want this to be his legacy? Or does he want the First Amendment to survive this trial? To survive, the president must forgive [Assange].”
Before being linked to the French political prisoner, Carlson clarifies: “We are not defending him. We are defending something that is, in fact, under attack. Something that is precious to every American and that is disappearing faster than we imagine; that is freedom of expression.” And to put it in perspective, Carlson calls his viewers to mind and asks: “if it happened to him, why wouldn’t it happen to you?”
Criticizing certain pardons that Trump seems to be granting, Carlson responds without hesitation. If the president wants a lasting historical effect on this country, he can achieve a great victory for the principles on which this country was founded, and which make it a good place to live,” he said. “The first is freedom of speech.”
“Assange and Snowden must be pardoned”
“It was too embarrassing for the Obama administration to reveal all kinds of abuses and lies they were perpetrating about these endless wars that the CIA and the Pentagon are determined to fight,” said Glenn Greenwald, head of The Intercept, in an interview with Carlson.
To understand what is happening here, we can use another very similar case, continues Greenwald. The case of Edward Snowden, also prosecuted by the Obama administration, who revealed all the lies told by James Clapper. “It also revealed how there is a massive system of espionage controlled by the CIA and the NSA that they can use against any American citizen,” he added.
“President Trump praised Wikileaks. He knows first-hand how these systems, which Edward Snowden revealed, can be abused – and how they were used in such a way in 2016”Glenn Greenwald
“They are punishing Assange and they want to punish Edward Snowden for informing the public that they have a right to know about the Obama administration. They are basically telling President Trump: You don’t run the country, even though you were elected. We are in charge,” Greenwald said.
When asked about forgiving them both, the Intercept reporter responded strongly: The president could forgive Assange and Edward Snowden, and this measure would already have a huge and broad support on both the left and the right.