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Trump pardons Navy sailor who used 'Clinton defense'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE on Friday pardoned a former Navy sailor who was recently released from prison for mishandling classified information by taking pictures onboard a nuclear submarine.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced at a press briefing that Kristian Saucier's pardon had been approved just days after reports that the Justice Department was reconsidering his request.

"[Saucier] has been recognized by his fellow service members for his dedication, skill, and patriotic spirit," Sanders said Friday. "While serving, he regularly mentored younger sailors and served as an instructor for new recruits. The sentencing judge found that Mr. Saucier's offense stood in contrast to his commendable military service."

"The president is appreciative of Mr. Saucier's service to the country," she added.

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Saucier made headlines in 2016 when his lawyers invoked former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMueller's team asking Manafort about Roger Stone: report O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate GOP pollster says polls didn't pick up on movement in week before 2016 election MORE's mishandling of classified information during his trial.

Saucier lost his case and was sentenced to 12 months in prison in 2016.

“Honestly did it help our case? I’m sure it did,” Saucier's defense attorney Greg Rinckey said at the time. “We were very concerned that some people that are in high, powerful positions within the United States are selectively prosecuted. So I think it was a valid rationale."

Trump himself mentioned Saucier's case multiple times during his campaign and since taking office, accusing Clinton of being the beneficiary of a double standard when it came to prosecuting officials for the misuse of classified materials.

"Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others," Trump tweeted in recently as January.

In 2016, the FBI declined to charge Clinton after an investigation into her usage of a private email server while she was secretary of State.

In a statement, then-FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMcGahn departs as White House counsel Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race FBI investigated media leak of McCabe comment about Flynn and Trump MORE said Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her handling of classified documents, but said no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against her.