Commander in Chief Donald J. Trump pardoned three soldiers who were accused or convicted of war crimes.
In a statement, President Donald Trump said the ‘Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted’, in a statement released after he granted the three pardons Friday
The Daily Mail reports – Trump personally called the three men after granting the clemency, which defied rulings made by military leaders seeking to punish the service members. All three also had been favorites among conservatives who see them as heroes who should not have been prosecuted.
‘The president, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,’ said the White House in a statement detailing why clemency was given.
‘For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country’, the statement explains.
‘These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, ‘when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight”.
Trump ordered the release of Clint Lorance, a former army lieutenant who had been convicted of murder for ordering soldiers under his command to open fire on three unarmed Afgan men, including two who died.
Lorance, an 82nd Airborne Division lieutenant, in August was sentenced to 20 years in prison, forfeiture of all pay and dismissal from the army after prosecutors said he recklessly ordered his men to open fire on the Afghan men in July 2012. The trio on motorcycles had approached his patrol in southern Afghanistan.
The president also canceled murder charges against Major Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Special Forces officer whose trial was set to begin next month.
The former Green Beret had been accused of killing a suspected bomb-maker while deployed in Afghanistan.
Golsteyn has argued that the Afghan was a legal target because of his behavior at the time of the shooting.
The case attracted Trump’s attention. He tweeted that Golsteyn is a ‘U.S. Military hero’ who could face the death penalty ‘from our own government’.
A court-martial for Golsteyn had been scheduled for December at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but was postponed until February.
On July 2, 2019, we reported about how U.S. Navy Chief Eddie Gallagher found NOT guilty of premeditated murder charges.
He was found guilty on one count of wrongfully posing with a body. 4-month sentence but has already been credited with 201 days served.
President Trump reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was acquitted of murder but convicted on a lesser charge in a war crimes case this summer.
Gallagher had his rank reduced from that of Senior Chief to Petty Officer First Class and was to have $10000 docked from his pay the 40-year-old was sentenced in July for the only charge he was convicted of – posing with the corpse of an ISIS fighter.
Gallagher posted a message of thanks to President Trump, saying: “There are no words to adequately express how grateful my family and I are to our President – Donald J. Trump for his intervention and decision.” The Navy Seal also thanked the American people and his family for their “unwavering” support “during this difficult time.”
On May 6, 2019, President Trump was criticized by the left for pardoning Army Ranger Michael Behenna for killing an Al Qaeda explosives transporter. For the full story, go HERE.
Michael Behenna was a former Army First Lieutenant from Oklahoma who was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a military court in 2009, for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.
The White House press release read:
Mr. Behenna’s case has attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public. Thirty-seven generals and admirals, along with a former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, signed a brief in support of Mr. Behenna’s self-defense claim. Numerous members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation, Oklahoma’s then-Governor Mary Fallin, and current Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter have also expressed support for Mr. Behenna. Further, while serving his sentence, Mr. Behenna was a model prisoner. In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency.