Trump Intervenes in War Crimes Case After Watching Fox & Friends Segment

It’s not the first time.

Donald Trump

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

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President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Saturday morning that a US Navy SEAL accused of war crimes would be moved to “less restrictive confinement” while he awaits trial on murder charges. Trump’s statement came one day after GOP Rep. Ralph Norman (S.C.) appeared on Fox & Friends—a show that Trump frequently watches and tweets about—to express concerns about the conditions in which Special Warfare Operator Chief Eddie Gallagher was being held.

On Friday, several hours after appearing on Fox, Norman tweeted that he had spoken to Trump about that matter and that Trump had agreed to move Gallagher.  Trump referenced both Norman and Fox & Friends in his Saturday tweet.

Gallagher has been held in a naval brig in San Diego since his arrest in September. He denies the allegations against him. As CNN explains:

Gallagher has been charged with various violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice while deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017. He has been accused of stabbing and murdering a wounded person, shooting at noncombatants and posing for a photo and performing his re-enlistment ceremony next to a dead body.

Earlier this month, 18 House Republicans, including Norman, wrote to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to raise concerns about Gallagher’s detention. They alleged that Gallagher had insufficient access to his defense counsel and was being deprived of adequate food and medical care. They also complained that Gallagher and other pre-trial detainees were being improperly intermingled with inmates who have been convicted of serious crimes. On Thursday, 40 lawmakers called for Gallagher to be moved to a less restrictive setting.

On Fox & Friends Friday, Norman said he’d first learned about the case when he saw Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.)—who is currently under indictment for allegedly misusing campaign funds—discuss it on Fox. Hunter has called for the case against Gallagher to be dropped entirely, saying, “There’s a reason we’re not winning these wars, and it’s because we go after our own guys,” according to the Navy Times.

This is not the first time Trump has publicly contemplated intervening on behalf of a service member charged with murder. In December, he tweeted that he would review the case of Maj. Matt Golsteyn, whom he called a “military hero.” That tweet also referenced Fox News.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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