WTF Community

Day 1030

(Matt Kiser) #1

1/ The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine testified that Trump's comment to the Ukraine president – that she was "bad news" and is "going to go through some things" – "sounded like a threat." Marie Yovanovitch, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, said she was "shocked, absolutely shocked, and devastated" when she read the rough transcript released by the White House of Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Yovanovitch also testified that Trump and Rudy Giuliani ran "the smear campaign against" her in tandem with corrupt Ukrainians, which undermined U.S. national security and emboldened Russia. Yovanovitch said Giuliani's "campaign of disinformation" was influenced by "individuals with questionable motives," who believed their "political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine." Yovanovitch was recalled from her posting on April 24 – three days after Trump's first call with Zelensky – while in the middle of hosting an event honoring an anti-corruption activist in Ukraine. Yovanovitch also criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the State Department's failed efforts to publicly support her after Trump removed her as ambassador. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CNN / NBC News)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019
(David Bythewood) #2

BREAKING: David Holmes was deposed today about the Sondland restaurant cal, and the results are even more damning.

David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump’s conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do “anything you ask him to,” and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to “do the investigation.”

“Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky ‘loves your ass,’” Holmes said, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by CNN. “I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it,’ adding that President Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.’”

Holmes explained that Sondland placed the call to Trump, and he could hear Trump because the call was so loud in the restaurant where they were with two others.

“While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume,” Holmes testified.

“Even though I did not take notes of those statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made,” Holmes added.

Diplomat testifies EU ambassador said Trump's interest in Ukraine was 'investigations of Biden'

Diplomat testifies EU ambassador said Trump’s interest in Ukraine was ‘investigations of Biden’

Holmes also confirmed Taylor’s testimony about the President’s thoughts on Ukraine, saying he asked Sondland "if it was true that the Presisdent did not 'give a s—t about Ukraine."

Holmes said Sondland responded Trump only cares about “big stuff.” When Holmes said that the Ukraine war was big, Sondland responded “‘big stuff’ that benefits the President, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing,” Holmes said.

Embassy Official Confirms Trump Asked About Ukraine Investigations

The official, David Holmes, also said that he was told President Trump cared more about the investigations than about Ukraine.

An official from the United States Embassy in Kiev confirmed to House impeachment investigators on Friday that he overheard a call between President Trump and a top American diplomat in July in which the president inquired about investigations he wanted from Ukraine, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The official, David Holmes, testified privately that he was at a restaurant in Ukraine’s capital when he heard Mr. Trump during a cellphone call loudly asking Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, if Ukraine’s president had agreed to conduct investigations into his political rivals. Mr. Sondland, who was in Kiev for meetings with top Ukrainian officials at the time, replied in the affirmative.

Mr. Sondland told Mr. Trump that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine “loves your ass,” and would conduct the investigations and “anything you ask him to,” according to two of the people, who described his testimony on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss it.

After the call ended, Mr. Holmes asked it if was true that the president did not care about Ukraine, the people said. The ambassador replied that Mr. Trump cared only about the “big stuff,” like investigations that his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was pushing for, because they affected him personally.

Some details of the conversation were first reported by CNN.

The call took place on July 26, one day after Mr. Trump personally pressed Mr. Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter, as well as unproven allegations that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election.

The existence of call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland was first revealed on Wednesday during public testimony from Mr. Holmes’s boss, William B. Taylor Jr., the top American envoy in Ukraine. Mr. Taylor said then that he had only learned of the episode recently.

Mr. Sondland did not mention the episode to investigators last month when he answered their questions in private. He will almost certainly be asked about it next week when he appears for public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He has already revised his initial testimony once, admitting to the panel last week that he told a top Ukrainian official that the country would probably not receive a package of nearly $400 million in security assistance unless it committed publicly to the investigations Mr. Trump sought.

On Thursday, two people familiar with the matter said that a second embassy official, Suriya Jayanti, also overheard the call and could corroborate Mr. Holmes’s account. It is unclear if investigators will also call her to testify. On Friday, Mr. Holmes indicated there was a third person present who would have overheard it, as well.

Mr. Holmes told investigators that he did not take notes during the conversation, but said he informed another embassy official about it shortly after.

Mr. Holmes described sitting at a table in the restaurant with Mr. Sondland when the president called. The president was speaking so loudly, he said, that Mr. Sondland held the phone away from his ear and Mr. Holmes and others could hear Mr. Trump’s voice.

In addition to discussing the investigations, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Sondland about ASAP Rocky, an American rapper imprisoned in Sweden at the time.

Mr. Holmes described the episode during an extended opening statement. It was not immediately clear if Democrats would call Mr. Holmes to testify in public.

Mr. Holmes is a career Foreign Service officer who currently serves as the political counselor in the American Embassy in Kiev.


:boom: :boom:


WASHINGTON — Today, the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) issued a joint statement calling for Stephen Miller’s resignation, following a report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center documenting multiple instances in which Stephen Miller espoused white nationalist beliefs and vilified communities of color and immigrants in leaked emails to Breitbart.

“It’s clearer than ever that Stephen Miller is a far-right white nationalist with a racist and xenophobic worldview. His beliefs are appalling, indefensible, and completely at odds with public service,” said CPC Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Pramila Jayapal, CBC Chair Karen Bass (CA-37), CHC Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20), and CAPAC Chair Judy Chu (CA-27).

(David Bythewood) #5

The vets I know in the resister community are as livid as I am (I’m a navy brat; my father was 24 years a navy corpsman). This is both immoral AND irresponsible; it shows the rest of the world America doesn’t play by the rules… so why should they? It puts all of our armed forces at risk.

Trump Clears Three Service Members in War Crimes Cases

The moves signaled that as commander in chief, Mr. Trump intends to use his power as the ultimate arbiter of military justice.

President Trump cleared three members of the armed services on Friday who have been accused or convicted of war crimes, overruling military leaders who had sought to punish them. All three have been championed by conservative lawmakers and commentators, who have portrayed them as war heroes unfairly prosecuted for actions taken in the heat and confusion of battle.

In a statement released by the White House late Friday, Mr. Trump announced that he was ordering the full pardon of Clint Lorance, a former Army lieutenant, from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, where he is serving a 19-year sentence for the murder of two civilians.

He ordered the full pardon of Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Special Forces officer who was facing murder charges for killing an unarmed Afghan he believed was a Taliban bomb maker.

And he reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was acquitted of murder charges but convicted of a lesser offense in a high-profile war crimes case over the summer.
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“The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,” the White House statement said. “As the President has stated, ‘when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.’”

The moves signaled that as commander in chief, Mr. Trump intends to use his power as the ultimate arbiter of military justice in ways unlike any other president in modern times.

Top military leaders have pushed back hard against clearing the three men. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have argued that such a move would undermine the military code of justice, and would serve as a bad example to other troops in the field, administration officials said.

Mr. Trump’s actions were first reported by The Washington Post. They were previewed last week on the Fox News show “Fox & Friends” by one of the hosts, Pete Hegseth, who said he had spoken to the president and described him as having “fidelity to the war fighter.”

“The president looks at it through that lens, a simple one, and important one,” Mr. Hegseth said, adding, “The benefit of the doubt should go to the guys pulling the trigger.”

A Navy official said SEAL leaders first learned of the plans from the Fox News broadcast, and since then have lobbied against clearing Chief Gallagher.

The three men have been portrayed in conservative media outlets and social media posts as dedicated warriors battling enemies who wear no uniforms and follow no laws of war, only to be unfairly second-guessed by military lawyers and commanders far from the scene of battle.

Mr. Trump echoed their frustration on Twitter in October, saying about Major Golsteyn, “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”

Experts were unable to name any other recent case of a member of the American armed forces receiving a presidential pardon for a violent crime committed in uniform, except for one granted by Mr. Trump in May. And it was strikingly unusual, they said, to clear a soldier of murder charges before the case is tried.

“I’m not sure it’s ever been done,” said Gary Solis, a retired military judge who served as an armor officer in Vietnam.

Referring to the only soldier convicted in the gruesome My Lai Massacre of civilians during the Vietnam War, Mr. Solis said: “People think Nixon pardoned Lieutenant Calley, but he didn’t. Calley was paroled.”

Presidents all the way back to George Washington have granted pardons to tens of thousands of American troops, but nearly all were young men who deserted or who evaded a draft, and received clemency after the fighting ended.

While the new pardons are a stark departure from tradition, they are in line with Mr. Trump’s many statements during his campaign and in office, arguing that to beat unconventional enemies like the Taliban and ISIS, the American military should loosen the reins on how troops behave in conflict zones.

“You have to play the game the way they are playing the game,” he told NBC News in 2016.

The specific circumstances of the three men’s cases defy easy characterization. In one, a decorated captain admitted to a killing in a job interview. In the other two, platoon leaders’ illegal actions were reported not by superior officers or Pentagon lawyers, but by their own platoons.

Troops who testified in those two cases, against Lieutenant Lorance and Chief Gallagher, voiced disappointment and disbelief over Mr. Trump’s plans for clemency before they were announced.

“The tragedy of pardoning Lorance isn’t that he will be released from prison — I’ve found room for compassion there,” said Patrick Swanson, a former Army captain who was Lieutenant Lorance’s company commander in Afghanistan. “The tragedy is that people will hail him as a hero, and he is not a hero. He ordered those murders. He lied about them.”

Mr. Lorance was a rookie Army lieutenant who had been in command of a platoon in Afghanistan for two days in July 2012 when he ordered his troops to fire on unarmed villagers who posed no threat, killing two men. He then called in false reports over the radio to cover up what had happened. He was immediately turned in by his own men.

Mr. Lorance, whose story is the subject of a new documentary series, was convicted of second-degree murder by a court-martial in 2013, and he has been in prison since then, serving his sentence at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

Major Golsteyn was charged in 2018 with premeditated murder over a killing that took place in 2010, when he was a captain in the Army Special Forces leading a team during Operation Moshtarak, one of the biggest combat operations of the war in Afghanistan. He admitted in a job interview with the C.I.A. the following year that, during the battle, he had killed a suspected bomb maker who had been captured and released, saying he had done so to protect civilians and his own men.

An initial Army investigation resulted in a reprimand but no charges. However, after Major Golsteyn publicly admitted the killing during a 2016 interview on Fox News, the Army reopened the case and charged him with premeditated murder.
ImageChief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was acquitted by a military jury in July of all charges except one minor count.
Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was acquitted by a military jury in July of all charges except one minor count.Credit…Sandy Huffaker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Chief Gallagher was charged by the Navy in 2018 with shooting civilians in Iraq, killing a captive enemy fighter with a hunting knife, and threatening to kill fellow SEALs if they reported him, among other crimes. The charges stemmed from a 2017 deployment in Iraq when he was a chief petty officer leading a SEAL platoon.

After a tumultuous trial, he was acquitted by a military jury in July of all charges except one minor count: bringing discredit on the armed forces, by posing for a photo with the corpse of the captive he was accused of killing.

Though Chief Gallagher could have been demoted to the lowest rank in the service as a result, the top admiral in the Navy decided in October to demote him by just one step, to petty officer first class.

Mr. Trump had already intervened in the Gallagher case, ordering him moved to less restrictive confinement to await trial, and has posted supportive messages on Twitter. The Gallagher family has repeatedly urged the president in social media posts to step in again.

“Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified,” the White House statement said.

The Navy had been planning additional punishment for Chief Gallagher. Timothy Parlatore, one of Chief Gallagher’s lawyers, said the chief was told to appear before SEAL commanders on Nov. 1 at Naval Base Coronado near San Diego so they could remove his Trident pin, signifying that they were officially kicking him out of the SEAL teams. Navy leaders also planned to take away the Tridents of three officers who knew of the platoon’s allegations against Chief Gallagher but did not report them.

But Chief Gallagher waited all day at the base while commanders sought approval for the action from top Navy officials and the White House, which never came, according to a Navy official briefed on the meeting. Plans to punish all four of the SEALs are now on hold, the official said.

Mr. Parlatore welcomed the president’s intervention.

“It shows leadership,” he said, because SEAL commanders had become “so blinded by their unhealthy fixation on Eddie Gallagher, and it was time for an adult in the room to stand up and say, ‘Enough.’”

The White House initially made preparations to issue more pardons on Memorial Day but held off after encountering fierce resistance from military leaders and prominent veterans. Among them was a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who wrote on Twitter: “Absent evidence of innocence or injustice the wholesale pardon of US servicemembers accused of war crimes signals our troops and allies that we don’t take the Law of Armed Conflict seriously. Bad message. Bad precedent. Abdication of moral responsibility. Risk to us.”

The men cleared by the president offered thanks Friday. On his Instagram account, Chief Gallagher, who a year ago had been facing the prospect of life in prison, thanked his family and thousands of supporters, and praised the president.

“I truly believe that we are blessed as a Nation to have a Commander-in-Chief that stands up for our warfighters, and cares about how they and their families are treated,” he wrote. “Our military is the best in the world, and with steadfast and supportive leadership; like we have in this president, our fighting force will only get stronger.”



CNN Scoop: Previously unreported White House meeting between Trump, Parnas, Fruman, and Giuliani. According to Parnas, Trump tasked him, Fruman, and Giuliani with pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Among the many guests who had their pictures taken with President Donald Trump at the White House’s annual Hanukkah party last year were two Soviet-born businessmen from Florida, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

In the picture, which Parnas posted on social media, he and Fruman are seen smiling alongside Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal lawyer.

At one point during the party that night, Parnas and Fruman slipped out of a large reception room packed with hundreds of Trump donors to have a private meeting with the President and Giuliani, according to two acquaintances in whom Parnas confided right after the meeting.

Word of the encounter in the White House last December, which has not been previously reported, is further indication that Trump knew Parnas and Fruman, despite Trump publicly stating that he did not on the day after the two men were arrested at Dulles International Airport last month.

Eventually, according to what Parnas told his confidants, the topic turned to Ukraine that night. According to those two confidants, Parnas said that “the big guy,” as he sometimes referred to the President in conversation, talked about tasking him and Fruman with what Parnas described as “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

“James Bond mission”

In the days immediately following the meeting, Parnas insinuated to the two people he confided in that he clearly believed he’d been given a special assignment by the President; like some sort of “James Bond mission,” according to one of the people.

To Parnas, the chain of command was clear: Giuliani would issue the President’s directives while Parnas, who speaks fluent Russian, would be an on-the-ground investigator alongside Fruman, who has numerous business contacts in Ukraine.

“Parnas viewed the assignment as a great crusade,” says one of the people in whom Parnas confided. “He believed he was doing the right thing for Trump.”

But wait, there’s more! This article reveals another unreported meeting!

Another close encounter

A separate encounter – also not previously disclosed – between Parnas and the President could provide further evidence that Parnas and Trump knew each other. In August 2018, months before the White House Hanukkah party, Trump traveled to upstate New York to attend a fundraiser for then- Republican congresswoman Claudia Tenney.

Among the handful of wealthy donors in attendance was Parnas. Photos viewed by CNN provided by two of the attendees feature Parnas mingling with people and having his picture taken alongside Trump. Both attendees said they got the impression that Trump and Parnas knew each other. During a Q-and-A session, Trump called Parnas by his first name, though they did have nameplates in front of them.

One of the sources said Parnas seemed quite proud of his interaction with Trump.

These meetings add further understanding of the extent to which Parnas and Fruman, aided by Giuliani, entered into the President’s inner-circle. CNN has recently reported that since 2014 there are eight documented times when Parnas and the President were with each other, including taking pictures together at campaign events and attending high-dollar fundraisers. [Note: This number has now increased to 10. See below.]

Related article:

Here’s an excellent 2-minute video summary of the 10 encounters:

(David Bythewood) #7

I cross-posted this over in Impeachment. The mind boggler for me is that they hatched their plot at the White House Hanukah Party. Just wow.

(David Bythewood) #8

Read the David Holmes transcript:

(David Bythewood) #9

Trump ignores Pentagon advice and intervenes in military war crimes cases

Washington (CNN)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.

Trump associate Roger Stone found guilty of lies that protected Trump

A US Defense official told CNN that the leadership of the Defense Department made every effort to ensure that the President had all the necessary information at his disposal prior to making this decision. ​

Even so, the President moved ahead with the decision, acting on the second day of the House impeachment inquiry’s public hearings. It was also the day that his longtime political adviser and friend Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to and obstructing Congress in a case related to Trump and the release of stolen Democratic emails in 2016 by WikiLeaks. ​​

“The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,” the White House said in a statement. "For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, ‘when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.’ "

“The Department of Defense has confidence in the military justice system. The President is part of the military justice system as the Commander-in-Chief and has the authority to weigh in on matters of this nature,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

The Army said in a statement Friday that it will carry out the pardons of Lorance and Golsteyn, while noting that “The Army has full confidence in our system of justice.”

The Navy tweeted Friday that it has received Trump’s order to restore Gallagher’s rank and is “implementing it.”

Undermining authority of command

Privately wary that the President would move against their recommendations, military officials had considered in advance what public posture to take if Trump refused to listen to their advice. Rather than try to explain a decision they cannot endorse, Pentagon officials are expected to simply refer questions to the White House.

“This goes directly to our military culture,” one official told CNN. Another official said, “We all view this possibility as undermining the authority of command” in military units.

The White House statement noted that “the United States military justice system helps ensure good order and discipline for our millions of uniformed military members and holds to account those who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Due in part to this system, we have the most disciplined, most effective, most respected, and most feared fighting force in the world.”

The statement did not acknowledge Pentagon worries that the President’s actions could undermine that discipline and culture.

‘Broad support’

Lorance was found guilty in 2013 of second-degree murder for ordering his men to fire on three men on a motorcycle in Afghanistan.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Lorance by phone Friday night and told him to “get his uniform.” Lorance’s legal team interpreted that to mean that he will be going free shortly, according to his lawyer John Mayer.

Gallagher was demoted after being found guilty for posing for a photo with a casualty. Gallagher had faced a court-martial for premeditated murder and attempted murder, but was acquitted. “Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified,” the White House said.

Golsteyn has been charged with the murder of an Afghan man in 2010. He pleaded not guilty in June, according to the Army Times. His lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, has maintained that the death occurred during a mission ordered by his superiors.

After nearly a decade, “a swift resolution to the case of Major Golsteyn is in the interests of justice,” the White House said. “Clemency for Major Golsteyn has broad support,” the statement continued, naming five Republican House members, an author and former Marine, and the Fox News contributor and Army veteran Pete Hegseth.

Last week CNN reported that after Army and Navy leaders were surprised by media reports that the President might intervene in the three cases, they called a meeting with Esper.

Those leaders, like most Army and Navy military and civilian officials, expressed extreme dismay about the possibility that the soldiers’ sentences could be dismissed or changed, according to several sources directly familiar with their thinking.

In an effort to educate and dissuade Trump, the Defense Department put together an information package to convey to him their concerns and educate him on the issues. Esper met with Trump to urge the President to let the Uniform Code of Military Justice prevail.

He said he had “a robust discussion” with the President and offered Trump “the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations.”

Officials all pointed to a central concept that informs the US military ethos: that US forces are highly trained to operate in a legal and disciplined manner and if they are found guilty of violations, they must face punishment.

If the President “were to overuse his pardon power and in fact release soldiers who have, in every other way, have the evidence stacked against them, there certainly could be an impact on the military judicial process going forward,” said John Kirby, a retired admiral who has served as both Pentagon and State Department spokesman.

“There could be an impact on military leaders and their ability to enact measures of good order and discipline. There also could be a potential crisis of confidence in the potential countries we’re operating in,” Kirby added.

Commander in chief

One reason US troops are as welcome as they are worldwide is because hosting nations “know the American military administers itself according to a very strict code of justice and we have a very good record of holding those troops accountable,” Kirby said, even for minor scrapes such as “drunken driving overseas or getting into a fistfight in a bar.”

Stackhouse, the defense counsel for Golsteyn, rejected the concerns of military leaders and veterans such as Kirby, ignoring their arguments to say essentially that Trump can do whatever he wants as commander in chief.

“To the naysayers who say dismissing the charge will undermine commanders or military justice, they still incredulously refuse to accept that President Trump is the Commander in Chief of our military and a General Court-martial Convening Authority,” Stackhouse said in a statement last week.

Speaking of the career officers who lead the Army and Navy, Stackhouse said their narrative “is meant to do nothing but undermine [Trump’s] leadership and pit civilian leadership against uniformed leadership.”

John Maher, an attorney for Lorance, told CNN that his legal team and immediate family were all in Leavenworth, Kansas, last week waiting for his possible release. Last Friday, the inmate administration had ordered Lorance to start packing up his bags, forward his mail and close his bank account to prepare for out processing, Maher said.

Lorance “never got a fair trial,” according to Maher, who said the Army lieutenant and his family have been waiting for five years for this day.

Before the decision was announced, Timothy Parlatore, an attorney for Gallagher, said his legal team had not communicated with the White House and “don’t presume to know what the President is thinking,” but said, “I certainly think Eddie Gallagher was treated poorly, as should every American.”

Perceptions in the military differ, though, and the disconnect with the President’s thinking about troops was on clear display after Trump tweeted on October 12 that “the case of Major Mathew Golsteyn is now under review at the White House. Mathew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bombmaker. We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”

Soldiers objected quietly, but with emphatic certainty. One young officer, referring to Trump’s “killing machines” comment, said, “That is not who we are.”

An official explained that “the President might think they acted in patriotism, but these were war crimes.” Speaking of Trump’s plans to act on the three service members’ sentences, this official added that “just because he can do it doesn’t mean he should.”

This story has been updated with additional background on the cases.


FYI 11:30A PST/2:30 EST

Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019
(David Bythewood) #11

(M A Croft) #12

Here is The Guardian report on this development. and the response by the Palestinian Saeb Erekat

Senior Palestinian politician Saeb Erekat said: “Once again, with this announcement, the Trump administration is demonstrating the extent to which it’s threatening the international system with its unceasing attempts to replace international law with the ‘law of the jungle’.”

Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019
(Matt Kiser) closed #13

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