President Obama isn’t going to spend his last few days in the White House wrapping china and moving furniture. Today the AP reported that Obama has decided to commute the sentence of convicted traitor Chelsea Manning.
BREAKING: President Barack Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning, who leaked Army documents and is serving 35 years.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 17, 2017
Manning was convicted of espionage and other charges related to treason in 2010. Manning has gone on to become a sort of cause célèbre after announcing from his prison cell that he was in fact a transgender woman. The ACLU took up his case, demanding the military provide hormone therapy and women’s undergarments. Many were still angry that the military authorities didn’t relocate Manning to a woman’s prison, although Manning has yet to undergo sex-change surgery.
New York Times – The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.
Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama’s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045.
White House spokesman Joshua Earnest justified the commutation of Mr.Manning while Edward Snowden remains a wanted criminal, saying:
Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing. Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.
There is no word from Manning’s representatives at the time of this publication.