GOP senator: Trump needs to be 'very careful' on pardons of soldiers charged with war crimes

GOP senator: Trump needs to be 'very careful' on pardons of soldiers charged with war crimes
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Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition 'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year MORE (R-Iowa) on Sunday urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE to be "careful" in his reported plans to pardon a number of military servicemen who were accused of war crimes.

Ernst told CNN’s Dana BashDana BashSanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues CNN, NY Times to host next Democratic debate in October CNN's Dana Bash: NC election shows Trump, Republicans are building 'unbelievably huge' war chest to drive rural voter turnout MORE on “State of the Union” that she doesn’t “know the details” of the prosecution for Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher or others but urged the president to “be very careful” in making a determination on pardons.

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"I’ll just be upfront and say I don’t know the details of what went through the prosecution in that particular case," she said. "But I would say if our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, if they are accused and found guilty of war crimes, we need to be very careful in that because It is not OK to perpetrate war crimes."

The New York Times reported last week that Trump is seeking to pardon Gallagher, who was charged with a number of war crimes, including stabbing and murdering a wounded person and firing at unarmed civilians in Iraq.

The president is also reportedly looking at the case of a group of Marines who were charged with urinating on a dead Taliban member.

Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Sunday that service members need to "understand" that "we operate under a code of ethics" and said Trump should be "very careful" in determining whether to issue pardons.

"I would just advise the president to be very careful, scrutinize each case individually, and if it’s warranted, grant a pardon," she said. "If it is not, and someone has committed a war crime, then a sentence should be served."