Augusta (Georgia, US): In this Aug 23 file photo, Reality Winner arrives at a court after she pleaded guilty in June to copying a classified US report and mailing it to an unidentified news organisation.—AP
Augusta (Georgia, US): In this Aug 23 file photo, Reality Winner arrives at a court after she pleaded guilty in June to copying a classified US report and mailing it to an unidentified news organisation.—AP

ATLANTA: A former government contractor who leaked a classified report on Russian hacking is now thanking President Donald Trump for tweeting about her case, after she once called him a “soulless ginger orangutan.”

In a Thursday telephone interview from a Georgia jail, Reality Winner told “CBS This Morning” that Trump’s tweet was a “breath of fresh air” and it made her laugh. Trump tweeted on Aug 24 that Winner’s crime is “small potatoes” compared with “what Hillary Clinton did.”

Trump closed the tweet by blasting US Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “So unfair Jeff, Double Standard.” In Thursday’s interview, Winner said that “even our commander in chief, President Trump, has kind of come out and said ‘wait a minute. This is really unfair, there’s this double standard here,’ and for that I can’t thank him enough.” “So I just can’t thank him enough for finally saying what everybody has been thinking for 16 months,” she added. The comments are in stark contrast to her earlier descriptions of Trump.

Before her arrest, Winner posted on Facebook that climate change was a more important issue than health care “since not poisoning an entire population seems to be more in line with ‘health’ care, and not the disease care system that people voted for a soulless ginger orangutan to ‘fix.’” Prosecutors have said Winner once wrote in a notebook of her desire to torch the White House. “I want to burn the White House Down ... find somewhere in Kurdistan to live. Ha-ha!,” is the entry, Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Solari said at a court hearing.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2018

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