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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr told the AP on Friday that he is "vehemently opposed" to pardoning Edward Snowden.

Why it matters: Barr's comments come just days after President Trump said he would "look at" pardoning Snowden, who was charged under the Espionage Act in 2013 for leaking highly classified information on government surveillance programs.

  • It remains unclear how serious Trump was about considering a pardon for the former NSA contractor. Ultimately, the power to issue a pardon or commutation for Snowden would lie with Trump.
  • Prior to his election, Trump called Snowden a "traitor" and a "spy who should be executed."

What he's saying: Barr called Snowden, who is living in exile in Russia, a "traitor" and said "the information he provided our adversaries greatly hurt the safety of the American people."

  • "He was peddling it around like a commercial merchant. We can’t tolerate that."

The big picture: Several top Republicans have also warned Trump against pardoning Snowden.

The other side: Snowden maintains that in working for the NSA and CIA, he concluded that the U.S. intelligence community had "hacked the Constitution."

  • He told "Axios on HBO" last year that "it was a difficult thing to come forward."
  • He added that he gave up a well-paying government job "spying on you" to never return home to see his family.

Go deeper

Ex-DHS official says Trump offered pardons to immigration officials who broke the law

Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff of the Department of Homeland Security, claimed in a political ad released Tuesday that President Trump offered to "pardon U.S. government officials for breaking the law to implement his immigration policies."

Why it matters: Taylor, who quit the Trump administration in 2019 and endorsed Joe Biden last week, is one of a number of Republicans seeking to stop the president's re-election. Trump denied that he offered pardons to immigration officials when the allegations were first reported by the Washington Post and New York Times in August 2019.

Australia opposes UN report warning Great Barrier Reef is "in danger"

A green sea turtle swimming among the corals at Lady Elliot island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef should be included in a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" from climate change, a United Nations committee said in a report Tuesday.

Yes, but: Australia's government said it will "strongly oppose" the recommendation by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on a massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."