White House to Let Navy Decide Whether to Expel SEAL Eddie Gallagher


Adding to the confusion, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was quoted by Reuters on Friday as saying that he favored going ahead with Gallagher's review, despite the president's opposition.

Gallagher, a Special Warfare Operator and petty officer who fought in Iraq, was one of multiple servicemembers pardoned by Trump of serious war crimes, against the objections of military officials and veterans' groups.

Spencer (left) has resigned after officials learned of a private proposal regarding the case of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who was accused of war crimes in Iraq.

The New York Times reported earlier on Saturday that Spencer had threatened to quit if Trump subverted the process. "I did not threaten to resign".

The reviews were announced just days after Trump restored Navy SEAL Edward R. Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer, overturning the sentence of the military jury in Gallagher's San Diego court-martial this summer.

"Good order and discipline is also obeying the orders of the president of the United States", he said.

During a defense conference in Halifax, Canada, Spencer further reiterated the inaccuracy of the Times report. "We are here to talk about external threats and Eddie Gallagher is not one of them".

Spencer has said that he supports the decisions of his commanders as they do their jobs, to include disciplinary actions.

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Removing their Trident pins means they will no longer be SEALs but could remain in the Navy. Gallagher was acquitted of a murder charge.

This would seem to have defused a conflict between the president and Navy leaders, although it remained possible that Trump could still use his authority as commander in chief to intervene in the volatile and politically charged Gallagher case, despite assurances received by the Navy.

Seeing the Navy treat a tweet like an executive order shouldn't surprise me at this point, and yet it still feels like something out of Black Mirror.

And while this news might have had some influence on Trump's decision to kick off another Twitter rant, the catalyst appears to be a Fox News interview with Gallagher's attorney, Timothy Parlatore, per CNN. "He's involved in every aspect of government and he can make decisions and give orders as appropriate", Spencer said.

Gallagher was convicted of bringing discredit to the armed services after posing next to a dead ISIS fighter's body, which is against regulations.

He said he wanted to retire as scheduled with "all the honors I have earned".

Neither Gallagher's lawyer nor the navy responded to requests for comment. The Trident pin signifies membership of the elite SEAL force.

Brown's statement may have generated more questions than answers, however, as he did not specify whether the review had been officially paused and would only resume on the president's say-so, or if the proceedings would only halt after an explicit order issued through the proper channels, rather than a presidential tweet. On the day he restored Gallagher's rank, he also pardoned two USA army soldiers.