Trump Restores Navy SEAL’s Rank, Pardons Army Servicemen From Murder

Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, left, hugs his wife, Andrea Gallagher, after leaving a military courtroom on Naval Base San Diego on May 30, 2019.  (AP Photo/ Julie Watson)

(CN) – President Donald Trump Friday restored Navy SEAL Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward R. Gallagher’s rank after he was demoted following a lengthy court-martial this past summer on claims he stabbed and killed a teenage Islamic State fighter.

Gallagher, who was only convicted on a charge for posing for pictures with the corpse of the fighter, received credit for time served this summer. While Gallagher was exonerated of premeditated murder charges, his conviction on the least serious charge still came with a demotion in rank and reduced pay.

After Gallagher was exonerated of premeditated murder, Trump tweeted a congratulatory message which stated: “Congratulations to Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, his wonderful wife Andrea and his entire family. You have been through much together. Glad I could help.”

A statement from White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham Friday noted before Gallagher faced prosecution, he was selected for a promotion to Senior Chief and awarded a Bronze Star with a “v” for valor. He was also assigned to be an instructor in the Navy prior to the court-martial.

“Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome,” according to the statement.

“Given his service to our nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified,” the press secretary added.

Trump also granted clemency Friday to two members of the Army, one convicted on murder charges and in the middle of a 19-year sentence and another who faced an impending trial.

Army Major Mathew Golsteyn was set to stand trial at a court-martial scheduled for December at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for shooting and killing a detained bomb maker in Afghanistan.

The suspected bomb maker – who allegedly created a device which detonated and killed two Marines – was identified by an Afghan informant and detained and questioned.

But rather than release him, Golsteyn shot him “because he was certain that the terrorist’s bomb making activities would continue to threaten American troops and their Afghan partners, including Afghan civilians who had helped identify him,” according to Grisham.

Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance was in the midst of a 19-year sentence when he received a full pardon Friday.

In July 2012, Lorance ordered his men in Afghanistan to engage when a motorcycle with three men approached his troop at a high speed. Two of the three men were killed.

A petition with 124,000 signatures seeking executive clemency for Lorance was sent to the White House.

Several members of Congress including Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy and Reps. Steve Scalise, Garret Graves, Duncan Hunter, Paul Gosar, Adam Kinzinger, Scott Perry, Brian Babin, Neal Dunn, Michael Waltz, Louie Gohmert, Daniel Webster, Steve King, Ralph Norman, Mark Meadows, Clay Higgins, Ralph Abraham, Mike Johnson, and Jody Hice also petitioned for Lorance’s clemency.

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