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Earnest on Possible Bergdahl Leniency: No Comment on ‘Decisions That the President Hasn’t Made’

On Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “New Day,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest answered questions on possible leniency for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by stating that he didn’t have any comment on decisions that haven’t been made, and “if we have news on this, then that’s news that President Obama will make.” Earnest also said, “the vast majority of the 1,300-1,400 people that President Obama has offered clemency to, are men and women who have served time in our criminal justice system for, in many cases, drug crimes, that didn’t involve violence.”

Earnest was asked if Bergdahl would be “up for any type of leniency?” He answered, “I don’t have any comment on any decisions that the president hasn’t made. There are a number of other people who have applied for clemency, but I don’t have any news to make on that front.”

Earnest was then asked by anchor Chris Cuomo, “But you can’t say that Bowe Bergdahl is not getting commuted?”

He answered, “What I can say is that, if we have news on this, then that’s news that President Obama will make. But, I do also think, Chris, it’s important to — when you take a look at the president’s clemency record, the vast majority of the 1,300-1,400 people that President Obama has offered clemency to, are men and women who have served time in our criminal justice system for, in many cases, drug crimes, that didn’t involve violence. These are men and women, who, if they were sentenced today, under current sentencing guidelines, would not have faced the kind of sentence that they previously faced. And so, this is actually about bringing some fairness and justice to our criminal justice system. Many of these people are getting a new lease on life. They’re getting a second chance. Almost 500 of them are people who had previously been sentenced to life in prison. They never thought that they would get out of jail, and see — and have an opportunity to make a positive contribution to their community, to be reunited with their family. So, this is an opportunity for many Americans to get a second chance. And I think that is — that’s consistent with a lot of the religious values that many of us subscribe to, and it’s certainly consistent with the basic principles of the American justice system.”

(h/t Grabien)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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