President TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE on Friday said he has not decided whether to pardon U.S. military service members who have been convicted or charged with war crimes.
Asked about the controversial proposal by reporters at the White House, Trump said he might wait until after all their trials conclude before deciding on whether to grant clemency.
“I haven’t made any decisions. There’s two or three of them right now. It’s a little bit controversial. It’s very possible that I’ll let the trials go on and I’ll make my decision after the trial,” he said.
Trump is reportedly considering pardons for at least two soldiers and one contractor who are accused or convicted of killing unarmed people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He has requested paperwork on Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who is facing trial on charges of shooting civilians in Iraq and executing a captive soldier with a knife, according to The New York Times.
Army Green Beret Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who is accused of killing an unarmed Afghan, and Blackwater contractor Nicholas Slatten who was convicted of murder for killing an Iraqi during a 2007 massacre, are also said to be under consideration.
“Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard and long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters and then when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly,” the president said.
Former military and national security officials have urged Trump to abandon his plans, saying it would send a message to U.S. allies, adversaries and service members that the administration is not interested in upholding the rule of law in combat zones.
The wives of Gallagher and Slatten have recently appeared on Fox News to lobby Trump for a pardon, arguing their husbands have been unfairly targeted.