Military leaders are reportedly nervous Trump will intervene in war crimes cases

The Week 1 month ago

President Trump has the power to pardon U.S. service members accused of war crimes, but Pentagon officials and military leaders really hope he doesn't wield it, CNN reports.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper is reportedly expected to discuss multiple war crimes cases with President Trump before Veterans Day on Nov. 11 in an attempt to get Trump to understand the severity of the allegations being waged against U.S. soldiers. Trump has reportedly ordered a review of charges against two members of the Army and is also considering restoring the rank of a former Navy SEAL who posed for a picture with a dead ISIS prisoner.

Sources told CNN that several Army and Navy leaders are worried about the possibility of the soldiers' sentences being dismissed or changed because of Trump's intervention. They're instead hoping the president allows the military's own justice system to run its course. John Kirby, a retired admiral, said if Trump "were to overuse his pardon power" there could both be lasting effects in the military judicial system and a "potential crisis of confidence in the potential countries we're operating in."

That said, Trump does have the legal authority to intervene, so Esper's efforts may prove fruitless, though, as one anonymous official bluntly stated, "just because he can do it doesn't mean he should." Read more at CNN.

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