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President Trump grants full pardons to two Army officers accused of war crimes


The Commander-in-Chief also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has granted full pardons to two Army officers accused of war crimes, and restored the rank of a Navy SEAL who was convicted of posing with a dead body.

What are the details?

The White House press secretary issued a statement Friday, saying the president had signed Executive Grants of Clemency for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance and Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, and directed "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 the charges against him."

According to The Washington Post, all three men received phone calls from the president, who personally notified them of his actions.

Lorance has spent the last six years serving a 19-year sentence at Leavenworth federal penitentiary after being convicted of murder for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghans in 2012. According to Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth, Lorance was set to be released from prison Friday night.

Golsteyn, a West Point graduate and Green Beret, was set to "stand trial for an alleged wrongful killing in connection with one of the largest battles of the Afghanistan War," the White House statement read. The officer told NBC News of his phone call from Trump, "He said it was an honor to be able to give us our lives back."

"We told him thank you," Golsteyn added. "I don't know what you can say to someone who is literally giving you your life back. Thank you is insufficient to say to someone who literally is giving you your life back."

Gallagher, a Navy SEAL, was found not guilty in July on charges that he illegally killed an ISIS terrorist that had already been captured. He was, however, convicted of the lesser charge of posing with a dead body.

Anything else?

CNN reported that some top Defense Department officials were not in favor of the president intervening the cases of the three servicemen, and expressed concern that "the pardons could impact good order and discipline and that it could undermine the integrity of the Uniform Code of the military justice system."

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