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 ErnstOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates Bipartisan momentum builds for war on terror memorial GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (R-Iowa) on Sunday urged President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP 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 BashManchin suggests pausing talks on .5 trillion package until 2022: report House is no easy road for Biden, Democrats on .5T package Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Manchin: key energy provision of spending package 'makes no sense' 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."