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Trump says considering pardons for some U.S. soldiers accused of war crimes

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Trump says considering pardons for some U.S. soldiers accused of war crimes

By Roberta Rampton

 

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U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, charged with war crimes in Iraq, is shown in this undated photo provided May 24, 2019. Courtesy Andrea Gallagher/Handout via REUTERS

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was considering pardons for "two or three" American soldiers charged with war crimes, a move he also said would be controversial but justified because they had been treated "unfairly."

 

Trump told reporters at the White House that he had not decided yet on the cases but may wait until the accused stood trial before deciding whether to grant them pardons.

 

"Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight sometime, they get really treated very unfairly," Trump said.

 

He did not identify which cases he was reviewing.

 

The New York Times on May 18 reported Trump had asked the Justice Department for paperwork on several high-profile war crimes cases in preparation for possible pardons to be announced on or around the U.S. Memorial Day holiday honoring fallen troops. This year's holiday is to be observed on May 27.

 

One request, according to the Times report, was for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL court-martialed on charges he fatally stabbed a helpless, wounded Islamic State fighter in his custody, and shot two unarmed civilians from a sniper's perch during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.

 

The 39-year-old combat veteran and platoon leader has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Defense lawyers say the allegations against him were fabricated by subordinate SEAL team members disgruntled with his leadership style and seeking to force him out.

 

Gallagher's trial was delayed this week until June 10 at the earliest. His lawyer told Reuters he had not asked for a pardon, and Gallagher declined to comment on the possibility of presidential clemency when asked by reporters in court.

 

TRUMP TIES TO COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE

 

The prospect of Trump offering Gallagher a pardon seemed heightened by this week's appointment to his defense team of former federal prosecutor Marc Mukasey, one of Trump's personal lawyers and an associate of fellow Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.

 

Another Giuliani associate, ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik - who served three years in prison in a federal corruption case - is an investigator on Gallagher's defense team.

 

Mukasey, in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, dismissed the notion of seeking a pardon for Gallagher.

 

"I have a job to do in the courtroom. I have no clue whether anything else is going on," he said.

 

Gallagher's wife, Andrea, denied any suggestion of impropriety over a lawyer for the commander-in-chief joining her husband's court-martial defense.

 

"There is no direct conflict in my mind," she told Reuters on Friday. "Marc Mukasey has not talked to the president. The president has not talked to him. So I think that this insinuation that a lawyer representing one individual that's also representing another is actually just stringing together a conspiracy that's non-existent."

 

Gallagher's lead civilian attorney, Timothy Parlatore, told reporters on Wednesday following a hearing at Naval Base San Diego: "If the president decides to step in, that's what the commander does."

 

Trump first weighed in on the Gallagher case publicly in March, ordering the defendant moved to less restrictive pre-trial confinement "in honor of his past service to our country."

 

A number of conservative commentators have urged him to pardon Gallagher. Critics say it would preempt justice, undermine military discipline and send a message that battlefield atrocities will be tolerated.

 

The overwhelming majority of pardons are granted to people who have already been convicted and served time for a federal offense, as when Trump earlier this month pardoned former Army Lieutenant Michael Behenna, who served five years in prison for killing an Iraqi prisoner in 2008.

 

But presidents have occasionally granted pardons preemptively to individuals accused of or suspected of a crime.

 

The most famous such case was the blanket pardon President Gerald Ford bestowed on his predecessor, Richard Nixon, following Nixon's resignation during the Watergate scandal.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-05-25
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6 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

 

Not much limiting the pardon powers...

 

The U.S. Supreme Court clarified presidential pardon power in an 1866 case (Ex Parte Garland) challenging the pardon of a former Confederate soldier by President Andrew Johnson. In its opinion, the Court stated that this power "extends to every offense known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment."

 

Presidents also may issue pre-emptive pardons -- or rather, a pardon for any crimes an individual may have committed or may have been charged with. For example, President Gerald Ford issued a pardon to outgoing President Richard Nixon even though Nixon had not been charged with any federal crimes at that point.

Additionally, the President may use this power to grant conditional pardons (such as serving a lesser sentence) or commutations; or to grant remissions (returns) of fines or forfeitures and respites (i.e. delaying a sentence).

 

 

that is comprehensive! I guess all that's missing is the ability to pardon future crimes... 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, klauskunkel said:

I guess all that's missing is the ability to pardon future crimes... 

 

yeah, that, and Russians I guess.

 

Sequel to "Minority Report"? (Phillip K. Dick)

 

 

 

 

Edited by mtls2005

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1 hour ago, Chomper Higgot said:

The people who the President is considering for pardon are all convicted war criminals, not all are soldiers.

 

Watch the video I posted above, it explains the problems their crimes caused.

Apologies, I thought they were military people (soldiers)

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1 hour ago, mtls2005 said:

 

Not much limiting the pardon powers...

 

The U.S. Supreme Court clarified presidential pardon power in an 1866 case (Ex Parte Garland) challenging the pardon of a former Confederate soldier by President Andrew Johnson. In its opinion, the Court stated that this power "extends to every offense known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment."

 

Presidents also may issue pre-emptive pardons -- or rather, a pardon for any crimes an individual may have committed or may have been charged with. For example, President Gerald Ford issued a pardon to outgoing President Richard Nixon even though Nixon had not been charged with any federal crimes at that point.

Additionally, the President may use this power to grant conditional pardons (such as serving a lesser sentence) or commutations; or to grant remissions (returns) of fines or forfeitures and respites (i.e. delaying a sentence).

 

 

So, a bit like a double 0 number, a license to kill?   I thought democracy involved a separation of powers of judiciary and executive. Then again, I still don't understand who wrote the Amendment to the 5th Commandment which allows an allegedly christian nation to engage in more wars than any other. 

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3 hours ago, ezzra said:

Mr. Trump consider pardoning  Jonathan Pollard who's done his 30 years for espionage and now he's prevented from leaving the US to go and spend the rest of his life in true home Israel... 

Poor taste sums it up. But some people in high places do not understand poor taste. This pardoning seems more like whipping up support for someone on the ropes.

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2 hours ago, Scottish Gary said:

What is it about America and their forces personnel accused of war crimes?  The My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war saw one solitary conviction which was overturned after two years. Hundreds of women and kids raped and massacred by psychopaths in American Army uniforms

I honestly had not realised there was any rape at My Lai.

 

Been past the place on the bus to Cambodia, difficult to picture what went on as in most of Vietnam.

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"...fatally stabbed a helpless, wounded Islamic State fighter in his custody, and shot two unarmed civilians from a sniper's perch..." This would not qualify as "fighting", but slaughter, sure. Makes sense Trump would pardon as he has no clue as to rules of law or war, other than they are there to be broken. 

He has remarked he might pardon himself. Mr. Law and Order, eh?

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5 hours ago, klauskunkel said:

pardon me, I'm a bit confused here:

shouldn't a pardon be for someone who was convicted? or does Trump have the authority to throw out legal charges and call that a "pardon"?

 

 

It's kind of a grey area according to the current  POTUS and his administration.        He thinks his pardon net can cast a wide 

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