Obama notes ‘tough prison sentence’ of Chelsea Manning in final White House press conference
President Obama has used his final White House press conference to give an optimistic outlook and to note the “tough” prison sentence already served by Chelsea Manning.
The outgoing US President commuted Manning’s sentence as one of his final acts in the White House, saying she would be released in May 2017 instead of 2045.
Obama said, of the trans Wikileaks whistleblower Manning and the prison sentence she has already undertaken: “I felt that in light of all the circumstances, that commuting her sentence was entirely appropriate.”
Of his outlook for the US after President-elect Donald Trump takes office later this week, Obama added: “At my core I think we’re going to be OK.
“We just have to fight for it, work for it, and not take it for granted… I know that you will help us do that.”
“I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad,” Obama added.
“I believe tragic things happen. I think there’s evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we’re true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time.”
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“That’s what this presidency has tried to be about,” he continued.
Obama said he wanted to write and “not hear myself talk so darn much,” after he leaves the White House, for fear that President Trump may not take up his advice.
Wikileaks boss Julian Assange earlier this week offered to surrender himself to authorities if President Obama followed through on reports he was considering freeing Chelsea Manning.
An investigation recently suggested that Wikileaks data dumps endangered gay men in Saudi Arabia.
A probe of 120,000 Saudi files dumped on Wikileaks revealed the documents included private health and crime records, exposing personal data of everyday Saudis.
It identified at least one man with a gay sex conviction – as well as a number of rape victims and people living with HIV.