May 27 is Memorial Day. Donald Bonespurs Trump loves attention, and he wants your attention on the day we honor vets. How will he go about getting it?
A New York Times story published this week shines a light on Trump’s plans to abuse his pardoning powers again. He is taking steps that will dishonor veterans and active duty military who have served or currently serve, our country.
According to two US officials, Trump has requested expedited preparation of paperwork required to issue pardons. These pardons are designated for war criminals, and he wants them to be issued on or around Memorial Day. Some on the list have yet to be tried, and others have been convicted in cases of murder, attempted murder, and desecration of a corpse.
One possible pardon would go to Eddie Gallagher, who is scheduled to be tried on May 28th. He is a former Navy SEAL accused of indiscriminately shooting unarmed civilians and killing an enemy captive while in Iraq. If convicted, he faces life in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and denies all charges.
Gallagher was reported to officials by seven of his own SEAL teammates who were granted immunity to testify against him. It is highly unusual for members of a SEAL team to turn on their own ranks.
One witness claims his team altered sights on Gallager’s rifle to hinder his aim because he kept targeting women and children. Another said the TEAM’s focus changed from their mission to protect civilians from Gallagher. A report mentioned in navytimes.com claims platoon’s snipers resorted to “shooting warning shots so that the civilians would run away and (Gallagher) would not kill them.”
Gallagher threatened to ruin the careers of whistleblowers, to blacklist them in their special warfare community, and with murder. Some witnesses are no longer willing to testify.
Another possible pardon would go to Nicholas A. Slatten, the first of several Blackwater contractors to be tried and convicted for taking part in a mass killing of 17 Iraquis and injuring another 20.
Let’s take a look at Trump’s previous pardons:
- Joe Arpaio, guilty of contempt of court. Trump pardoned him in August 2017, before his conviction in October of 2017
- Kristian Saucier pardoned in March 2018- convicted August 2016, on charges of unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information.
- Lewis ”Scooter” Libby pardoned by Trump in April of 2018, found guilty in June 2007, of perjury and obstruction of justice.
- Jack Johnson, pardoned in May 2018 sentenced in 1920 in violation of the Mann Act.
- Dinesh D’Souza pardoned in May 2018 Sentenced in September of 2014 for campaign finance violations.
- Dwight Lincoln Hammond Jr and Steven Dwight Hammond were pardoned in July of 2018, sentenced in October 2015 for arson.
- Army First Lieutenant Michael Behanna, pardoned in May 2019, sentenced in February 2019 for assault and murder—of an Iraqi man during an interrogation
- Conrad Black pardoned in May 2019, convicted in December 2007 for fraud and obstruction of justice.
- Pat Nolan pardoned May 2019, convicted in February 1994 for racketeering.
The above pardons served a purpose. Trump’s goal was to undermine our legal system by dismissing charges of obstruction of justice, campaign finance law violations, perjury, contempt of court. Trump and his cohorts have been accused, if not formally, of all of the above. His message is the law doesn’t matter.
His plan to pardon so many convicted war criminals, some yet to be tried, at once, takes aim at the authority of military law.
What is Trump’s motivation with these military pardons? Is he assembling a loyal group of highly trained criminal brutes who will be in his debt? Trump is always on the lookout for loyal people he can use and discard.
Or maybe this is all for attention.