The incoming Trump administration criticized President Barack Obama’s commutation of the 35-year prison sentence for Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified material.
Donald Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, said that the president-elect was “troubled by this action” and that there was “a bit of irony and double standard” on the part of the president, who has expressed outrage and aggressively investigated government leaks. White House spokesman Josh Earnest lobbed his own accusation of hypocrisy at Republicans for defending WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published Manning’s leaked material.
Obama announced Tuesday he would shorten Manning’s sentence. She was convicted in 2013 and will now be released in May. Earnest told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that Obama made the decision “in the pursuit of justice” and that the length of Manning’s sentence, which was significantly longer than others convicted of similar crimes, was a factor in the president’s decision.
Manning was arrested in 2010 after leaking 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.