President Donald Trump ignored Pentagon advice Friday and pardoned two service members, while also restoring the rank of a third after all faced war crimes allegations.
Trump granted full pardons to Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, and restored the rank of Navy SEAL Eddie R. Gallagher, who had been demoted.
Lorance was released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, just before 10:30 p.m. local time Friday. He was wearing his Army uniform, according to CNN Producer Dan Shepherd who witnessed the reunion. His aunt, uncle, cousin and three nieces were waiting for him at a hotel following his release.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior military leaders had told the President that a presidential pardon could potentially damage the integrity of the military judicial system, the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline, and the confidence of US allies and partners who host US troops. [Continue reading…]