It looks like President Donald Trump wants to make news around Memorial Day by pardoning several Americans who have been accused or convicted of war crimes. Although nothing is official yet, the New York Times reports that the White House has filed expedited requests for the paperwork that would be necessary to move forward with those pardons “on or around Memorial Day.” The Trump administration requested the paperwork Friday and even though that can take months to assemble, the administration has called for the files to be completed before Memorial Day weekend.
One of those who could potentially receive a pardon from the president is Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who is scheduled ot go on trial shortly for allegedly killing a wounded prisoner of war in Iraq and shooting unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. Trump had recently ordered Gallagher be moved to a “less restrictive” prison as some Republicans have publicly expressed support for him. Others who could benefit from the president’s move include a former contractor who was found guilty of shooting dozens of unarmed Iraqis and a group of snipers charged with urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.
If Trump goes through with the pardons, it would only mark the latest effort by the president to push a message that there should be a more lenient stance toward actions taken by servicemembers in a war zone. In the past, Trump has expressed support for torturing detainees, saying that he “absolutely” believes it works. Earlier this month, Trump pardoned Michael Behenna, a former Army officer who was convicted of killing an Iraqi prisoner in 2008.