If you're wondering why President Donald Trump is planning to pardon three alleged war criminals, you likely have Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth to thank.
Two days ago, the New York Times reported that "the Trump administration had made expedited requests this week for paperwork needed to pardon the troops on or around Memorial Day." Those troops include Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher of the Navy SEALs, who has been accused of shooting unarmed civilians - including a young girl - and murdering a suspected Al Qaeda prisoner.
Now it's come to light that the Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth has been lobbying the president to pardon Gallagher and two other alleged war criminals because it would be "heartening for guys like me and others in the service."
Fox News host reportedly lobbied Trump for months to pardon alleged war criminals https://t.co/nZ34lnrEaa https://t.co/VAr2lHIrs2— Splinter (@Splinter) 1558455665.0
@NoahShachtman @justinjm1 I was wondering where he was getting these beyond terrible ideas but this is not at all surprising— hey you (@hey you) 1558402716.0
Hegseth has defended the accused war criminals on air during his show, calling them "good guys" and making no secret of the fact that he believes they should be pardoned.
But he never disclosed that he was actively advising the president. The Daily Beast reported that Hegseth has been lobbying the president since as early as January to let Gallagher go to trial for his crimes, and sources say that since at least March Hegseth "has specifically advised Trump to pardon him and the other men."
Fox News hosts: Trump’s move to pardon convicted and accused U.S. war criminals is "amazing" and will unite the cou… https://t.co/tlOYarWbRw— Media Matters (@Media Matters) 1558278866.0
In March, Trump tweeted that "in honor of his past service to our Country, Gallagher would be "moved to less restrictive confinement" as he awaited his trial.
The expedited paperwork suggests that the president is planning a full pardon on or around Memorial Day, a holiday that commemorates people who have died in the service of our country.
When you have 5 draft deferments like #cadetbonespurs you think #MemorialDay is for pardoning war criminals instead… https://t.co/18HJxB0RL0— VoteVets (@VoteVets) 1558209790.0
As a veteran I have to say that Trump choosing Memorial Day to pardon accused military war criminals is a desecrat… https://t.co/2xXNMfJCXQ— Jeff Stein (@Jeff Stein) 1558218187.0
Hegseth, himself a veteran, believes that Gallagher and others have been treated unfairly. "These guys make tough calls in moments for most people have never been a part of in their life," Hegseth was quoted as saying, "and then folks in suits in Washington, D.C., they throw paper at them and accuse them of things."
Trump has often shown support for Eddie Gallagher, who “shot a girl.. walking with other girls on the riverbank.”… https://t.co/IIm9Na2GD2— Carol Leonnig (@Carol Leonnig) 1557746509.0
I LOVE our men and women who serve our country. When @realDonaldTrump talks about pardoning soldiers who turn on ou… https://t.co/FvH3fWoYKx— S.E. Cupp (@S.E. Cupp) 1558409146.0
Fox News shouldn't have the president's ear when it comes to pardoning criminals. Let them await trial before deciding their fate based on a news channel.