In the latest development to Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher’s court-martial over alleged war crimes, U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, has intervened and asked President Donald Trump to dismiss the case.
“I am significantly concerned that this is another example of the over-aggressiveness of the Navy JAG Corps showing its bias against our war fighters,” said Duncan in a statement. “Due to the verifiable political nature of the Navy’s justice system, I believe that Chief Gallagher’s matter needs to be taken away from the Navy and President Trump himself needs to personally review and dismiss this case, taking an American hero out of a prison cell and back on the front lines where he belongs.”
Hunter added the accusation that Chief Gallagher murdered an under-aged ISIS fighter in a declared war zone is based on the inconsistent and inaccurate testimonies of his teammates.
“It is important to remember that this ISIS combatant was engaged in an extensive firefight with Chief Gallagher’s team and was already significantly injured when captured. No credible evidence has been provided that this ISIS fighter was murdered, as opposed to dying from his terrorist actions,” added Hunter.
The lawmaker, however, didn’t address the numerous other allegations that Chief Gallagher is facing: shooting at unarmed civilians, obstructing justice by trying to silence his fellow SEALs from disclosing his actions on three separate occasions, using a dead ISIS fighter to reenlist, and abusing banned controlled substances.
Chief Gallagher was the Chief of SEAL Team 7’s Alpha platoon. During their deployment in Iraq, they worked together with the Iraqi Emergency Response Division in fighting ISIS.
Hunter also raised an issue with Chief Gallagher’s confinement conditions – the Navy SEAL was arrested in September and since then has been interned in the San Diego Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar.
“I have also received reports that Chief Gallagher is being confined to the brig where, allegedly, he has not been provided with quality access to medical care, mental health services or legal representation,” he said. “I am reviewing this situation further. If true, it is completely unacceptable and, without hesitation, I will introduce legislation to ensure this situation is not repeated.”
This wouldn’t be the first time the president would be involved in the judiciary process of the military if he follows Duncan’s request and intervenes. In December, he announced that he would review the case of Major Matt Golsteyn, a Special Forces officer who illegally killed a Taliban bomb-maker. At the time, President Trump had tweeted that, “At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a terrorist bomb maker while overseas.”
A former United States Marine Corps (USMC) artillery officer, Duncan is representing California’s 50th Congressional District.