President Donald Trump dropped murder charges for two Army officials and restored a Navy SEAL's rank after he was docked for posing for a photo with a dead ISIS fighter.
The White House announced on Friday, November 15, that United States President Donald Trump just granted clemency to two Army officials either accused of convicted of serious war crimes, Fox News reports. One of the officers, Army First Lt. Clint Lorance, could be released as soon as Friday evening from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was found guilty of second-degree murder six years ago. Furthermore, former Green Beret Maj. Matt Golsteyn will have the murder charge he currently faces dropped. Finally, in addition to this, President Trump restored Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer. Gallagher was docked a pay grade for being convicted of posing for a photo with an Islamic State (ISIS) fighter his battalion had killed.
In an official statement, The White House affirmed, "Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, and an order directing the promotion of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward R. Gallagher to the grade of E-7, the rank he held before he was tried and found not guilty of nearly all of the charges against him." The officers have since relayed their profound gratitude.
Gallagher expressed his deep appreciation of Trump's grant in a public statement on Friday night. "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," he stated. "We would also like to thank the American people for their unwavering support during this very difficult time for my family and I - we can never thank you enough... I truly believe that we are blessed as a nation to have a commander in chief that stands up for our war fighters, and cares about how they and their families are treated... Our military is the best in the world, and with steadfast and supportive leadership - like we have in this President, our fighting force will only get stronger."
The decision to grant clemency has been hotly debated ever since it became public knowledge that Trump had planned to take action on the cases. Earlier this month, Fox News' Pete Hegseth reported that "imminent" action was to be expected. At the time, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters, "I offered - as I do in all matters - the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations and we’ll see how things play out." It is unclear whether Esper's recommendations were taken into account. Nonetheless, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman explained, "The Department of Defense has confidence in the military justice system. The president is part of the military justice system as the commander in chief and has the authority to weigh in on matters of this nature."