The Los Angeles Times talked to Edward Snowden’s lawyer, Kremlin-friendly, leaker-approved Anatoly Kucherena, who says his client is trying to figure out a way he could return home and not go to jail for the rest of his life. Kucherena has yet to find a miracle solution. “Edward loves America,” he said, “and he would definitely like to return home. But it is our position, and a very simple one, that as long as his case is politicized and commented on as it is by politicians of all levels, that his return to his motherland is impossible.”
Shortly before this story was published, former Senator Saxby Chambliss lent great credence to Kucherena’s legal strategy. The Georgia politician told college students, “We need to hang him on the courthouse square as soon was we get our hands on him,” adding that he hoped “none of you have any sympathy for him.”
Donald Trump, who is currently winning the Republican Party’s presidential popularity contest, has made similarly brutal comments about the former NSA contractor. During a call-in interview on Fox & Friends in 2013, Trump said, “I think he’s a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country? You know what we used to do to traitors, right?” Host Eric Bolling responded, “Well, we used to kill them, Donald.”
Other presidential candidates’ creative sentencing ideas would probably not make Snowden feel any better about his options. Senator Rand Paul said he’d put [intelligence director] James Clapper and Edward Snowden in the same jail cell”; Jeb Bush said he should be “given no leniency”; Hillary Clinton said she “could never condone what he did.” The Justice Department has also noted recently that the Obama administration’s “position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed.”
Snowden’s free time in Russia might be best spent wishing for a Bernie Sanders presidency; the Vermont senator said last year that “the interests of justice would be best served if our government granted him some form of clemency or a plea agreement that would spare him a long prison sentence or permanent exile from the country whose freedoms he cared enough about to risk his own freedom.”
In case you had any confusion about how awful Snowden’s possible choices are right now, his ACLU attorney put it in even more blunt terms. “Right now he has two choices,” he told the Times. “Stay indefinitely there or report to a U.S. prison,” both of which unfortunately probably entail listening to Donald Trump further explain what he would do to Snowden if elected.