This is terrific news! It is sure to bring a smile to the military as well. President Trump has pardoned two Army officers accused or convicted of war crimes and restored Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer after he was docked a pay grade after being convicted of posing for a photo with a dead Islamic State (ISIS) fighter, the White House announced Friday. That just made my day.
When you go to war, you go to kill the enemy, win the fight and then go home. Obama handcuffed our warriors and prevented them from doing their jobs. When they did do their duty and protected their brothers in arms, they were punished for it. Trump’s pardons and restoration of rank rights some of those wrongs. Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance was released from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, six years after being found guilty of second-degree murder. Maj. Matt Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, will have the murder charge against him dropped. Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher will be restored his previous rank.
“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 White House said in a statement.
From Fox News:
“Lorance was six years into serving a 19-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth for ordering his soldiers to open fire and kill three men in Afghanistan. Lorence’s supporters say he killed Taliban fighters. Nine members of his unit testified against him, saying the men were innocent.
“Gallagher, a 15-year SEAL whose case garnered national attention, was found not guilty of murdering an ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017 but was convicted in July of a lesser charge of posing for a photo with the dead ISIS prisoner’s corpse.
“His punishment included a reduction in rank from chief petty officer to 1st class petty officer, which would have cost him about $200,000 in retirement funds. His family and defense team were fighting to have his rank restored.
“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,” Eddie Gallagher said in a public statement Friday night. “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,” he said.
“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,” Eddie Gallagher added.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) November 15, 2019
“Golsteyn was charged with premeditated murder in the 2010 death of a suspected Taliban bomb maker. His trial was expected to begin next month.
“It was the second time the Army investigated the 2010 case after an initial probe didn’t find sufficient evidence to bring charges. A second investigation was opened in 2016 and Golsteyn was charged in December 2018. He faced life in prison if convicted and was stripped of his Special Forces tab and Silver Star award for valor.
“Golsteyn was charged with murder after telling Fox News’ Bret Baier in 2016 that he was concerned that if he released the suspected Taliban bomber, he would strike again. At one point, Baier asked Golsteyn if he’d killed the Taliban bomber.
“Yes,” Golsteyn replied.
“His family had called the case a “complete set-up,” a “farce” and a “kangaroo court.”
“Trump had tweeted on Oct. 12 that he was reviewing Golsteyn’s case.
“Matthew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bomb maker,” the president wrote. “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!
“Matt’s wife, Julie Golsteyn, had said at the time that the president’s tweet had given their family hope.
“I don’t know how much more ridiculous it can get,” she added. “Matt was cleared and then their story changed. It is so rigged.”
From CBS' David Martin: According to his lawyer, pardon recipient Lt Clint Lorance, still serving time in Leavenworth, received notice of the pardon in phone calls from both @POTUS and @VP. Attorney says Lorance to be released as early as tonight.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 16, 2019
“Fox News’ Pete Hegseth first reported earlier this month Trump was expected to take “imminent” action in the cases.
“Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Friday night, “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.”
“Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he had met with the president and discussed the cases.
“I offered — as I do in all matters — the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations and we’ll see how things play out,” he told reporters at the Pentagon at the time.”
Also, @POTUS has signed n order directing the promotion of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward 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.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) November 15, 2019
In my opinion, this was the right thing to do and Trump should be commended for doing so.
RedState nailed it: “These are solid decisions by a commander-in-chief who realizes that much of the current military leadership is much more concerned with pleasing SJWs and making all the right sucking sounds in the direction of progressive butts than in military efficiency. While rules of engagement are what separate a disciplined military force from an armed thuggery, it has been known for a decade that our rules of engagement seem tantamount to not only giving the bad guys the first shot but putting a lawyer in the loop in operational decisions. (Of course, that does give the David French’s of the world the ability to boast about their combat experience, so there is that.) Under Obama, we saw the military justice system unleashed on military and warfighters punished for putting the safety of their units above the safety of known or likely enemies.”
Presidential pardons and/or promotion order issued to:
-Full pardon: Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance
-Full pardon: Army Major Mathew Golsteyn
-Order for promotion: Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward R. Gallagher to the grade of Chief Petty Officer.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 15, 2019
All three men received phone calls from the president, who personally notified them of his actions. Their families wept with relief and joy over justice long overdue.
Of course, the media decried all of this. But President Trump gave these men their lives back and rightfully so. Anonymous military officials told CNN and The Washington Post that Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, discouraged Trump from issuing the pardons. The officials said the action could prevent the Pentagon from prosecuting other people involved in the cases and could threaten the integrity of the military justice system. These anonymous officials are cowards and thankfully, Trump did not listen to them.
BREAKING-Pres Trump signed pardons for Army 1LT Clint Lorance & Army Maj Mathew Golsteyn & returned Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher to the rank of E-7. All three were accused of war crimes in Afghanistan & Lorance had been convicted. Gallagher was convicted on a lesser charge
— Mike Glenn (@mrglenn) November 15, 2019
In a statement announcing the interventions, the White House praised the military justice system for instilling discipline in the armed forces”
“The president, as commander-in-chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,” the statement read. “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.
“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.’”
Army 1LT Clint Lorance is FULLY PARDONED and will be out of prison TONIGHT.
Army Green Beret Matt Golsteyn is FULLY PARDONED and is free from Army harassment.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher gets his rank & record back.
— Pete Hegseth (@PeteHegseth) November 16, 2019
These soldiers keep us safe here at home and allow us to live our lives in peace and free of the fear of attack by our enemies. Being in the military takes self-sacrifice by those with great courage and the heart to defend and protect their fellow countrymen. All of them deserved better than this and shame on Obama and the military-hating left who did this to them and their families for simply doing their duty and laying their lives on the line for all of us.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) November 15, 2019