Donald Trump is thinking about using his clemency power to pardon military personnel who have been accused of murder and other crimes, which is showing his pattern of using the ability for his own personal use rather than the careful legal procedures used by his predecessors.
Trump, on several occasions, has given pardons after TV appearances and meetups with celebrities and influential public figures. According to the Daily Beast, Trump plans to pardon several U.S. military men accused of murder, injuring civilians and murdering detainees. One of the men Trump wants to pardon is Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who shot civilians, including a school girl.
This all seems to come after Trump was pressed by Fox News host #PeteHegseth for several months to support the accused and convicted servicemen. Hegseth, an Iraq War veteran, advocated specifically for Gallagher to be pardoned in addition to others. Gallagher is currently set to appear in court for trial on May 28. Hegseth is also a friend and advisor of Trump. Three sources close to the situation say Hegseth had multiple private meetings with Trump about Gallagher’s case specifically.
Trump has already begun filing paperwork ahead of Memorial Day. Hegseth has defended war criminals on air as well, referring to them as “good guys” who made “tough calls.” Hegseth says Trump’s pardons of Lorance, Gallagher, Golsteyn, and others would be “heartening for guys like me and others in the service” that want a President “defending the warfighter.”