Trump brings pardoned soldiers on stage at Florida fundraiser: report

President Trump brought two soldiers he pardoned last month on stage at a Florida Republican fundraiser Saturday night, the Miami Herald reports. 

Trump brought Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn and Army Lt. Clint Lorance, who he pardoned over cases involving war crimes, on stage at the Florida GOP’s annual Statesman’s Dinner, the newspaper reported citing six people who attended the event. 

Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, was charged with murder in the death of an Afghan man during a deployment in the country in 2010. He had pleaded not guilty in the case.

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Lorance was found guilty in 2013 or murder in the second degree for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle. He has served six years in the 19-year prison sentence he received for the charge. 

Pentagon leaders reportedly had privately opposed the controversial pardons.

Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyJustice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Democratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories Mnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus MORE (D-Vt.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Overnight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights MORE (D-R.I.) sent a letter last month to the Department of Justice asking for information on if the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney was involved in the decision. The senators asked for answers no later than Dec. 13.

Critics of the pardon argued that Trump’s move could send a message to troops that they don’t need to follow rules of engagement when fighting abroad.

The Miami Herald reported that the 1,000 attendees were asked to check their cell phones into individual locked cases and reporters were not allowed to attend the event which raised $3.5 million for the party. 

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The attendees that spoke to the Herald said Trump was a “total comedian” at the event, doing impressions of Democrats including House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTop Federal Reserve official: Further coronavirus stimulus bill may not be needed Schumer: Fired inspector general will be remembered as a 'hero' Clyburn says stimulus spending oversight committee will be 'forward looking' MORE (D-Calif.), and said parts of his speech were similar to his tweets calling the impeachment inquiry “a sham” and a “witch hunt”

Trump also praised the Florida GOP for their work in the state, the Herald reported. 

The same night Trump spoke to the Israeli American Council in Hollywood, Fla.