The New York Times reported over the weekend that President Donald Trump is preparing to pardon several military members accused or convicted of war crimes, including Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher.
But Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) disagrees with the idea of Gallagher receiving a preemptive pardon.
What did Crenshaw say?
Crenshaw, who served as a SEAL for 10 years, told National Review this week that Gallagher’s fate should first be determined by the military court — not the president.
“These cases should be decided by the courts, where the entirety of the evidence can be viewed,” he said. “Only after that should a pardon be considered.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), also a Marine with a 16-year military record, disagrees with Crenshaw, telling the Associated Press last week that he fears the Navy will not produce a fair trial for Gallagher.
“I don’t trust the Navy to give him a fair trial, but I think with all of the focus on this case that he stands more of a chance of getting a fair trial now,” Hunter said.
The California congressman said he will personally asked Trump to pardon Gallagher. Fox News host Pete Hegseth has also reportedly personally petitioned Trump to pardon Gallagher and other servicemen accused of war crimes.
What is Gallagher accused of?
Gallagher. a highly decorated 19-year SEAL veteran, is accused of premeditated murder, attempted murder, obstruction of justice, among many other criminal acts.
Though Gallagher had accumulated a tough reputation throughout his military career, military prosecutors say during his final deployment to Iraq in 2017, during the Battle of Mosul, Gallagher murdered a captured ISIS soldier, a blatant war crime.
Gallagher’s SEAL teammates also allege his sniper work became bloodthirsty during the battle, accusing him of shooting likely civilians — including a young girl. Teammates also claim Gallagher boasted about killing multiple people per day over the span of multiple months, despite the U.S. military serving in an advisory role during the battle.
Prosecutors say Gallagher then attempted to silence fellow SEALs who spoke out against him, even attempting to murder “traitors.”
According to the Navy Times, there is a long line of SEALs prepared to testify against Gallagher when his trial begins on Tuesday.
Will Trump offer Gallagher a pardon?
While it’s not yet clear if Trump will follow through with a pardon, The Times reported the White House drew up official pardon paperwork last week, sending it to the Justice Department for review.
The White House reportedly requested the paperwork be finalized before Memorial Day weekend because Trump planned to pardon Gallagher and several other military servicemen.