Joe Biden was questioned about pardoning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a town hall event in Oregon on Saturday night.
Biden said that he would not consider it and that the US government has “a lot on that guy.”
The question was asked by conservative videographer Brandon Brown, who captured audio of him speaking and says that Biden jabbed him in the chest while responding.
Brown said that he had hidden the camera as video while speaking to Biden was not allowed, per the Secret Service, without “explicit permission.” He also told the Gateway Pundit that prior to him asking the question, Biden was seen stroking the cheek of a young girl who appeared to be around seven years old and giving her official White House candy.
I went to a (not) town hall today to ask Biden if it was time to finally Pardon Julian Assange. I’m paraphrasing but he said “Probably not” You could see him think, & he said something to the effect of “No, I’m not. On Assange; We have a lot on that guy.” https://t.co/Nzm1dsMgtm
— Brandon Brown (@BrownBrandon503) October 16, 2022
Assange faces charges in the US under the Espionage Act for his publication of the Iraq and Afghan War Logs. If convicted he could face a maximum sentence of 175 years for the “crime” of publishing material that the US government did not want the population to know.
The legal team representing the publisher is currently trying to fight an ordered extradition to the United States.
“I asked because press freedom is top of mind right now with us propping up places like Ukraine that have no press freedom and also ban political parties, as we seem to be headed for here, at least with certain republicans,” Brown told the Gateway Pundit when asked why he chose this specific question. “It’s all a slippery slope, and we are sliding faster and faster.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists has opposed his extradition, saying that “the prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder (Julian #Assange) in the United States would set a deeply harmful legal precedent that would allow the prosecution of reporters for news gathering activities and must be stopped.”
Committee to Protect Journalists: “The prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder (Julian #Assange) in the United States would set a deeply harmful legal precedent that would allow the prosecution of reporters for news gathering activities and must be stopped” https://t.co/CkLErXEmkc
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 24, 2022
Assange is currently imprisoned at HMP Belmarsh and recently tested positive for COVID-19.