Jul 3, 2019

Jury reduces SEAL Edward Gallagher's rank for posing with dead ISIS fighter

Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

A military jury sentenced Navy veteran and SEAL platoon leader Edward Gallagher to a rank reduction Wednesday for posing with the corpse of a 17-year-old ISIS militant, according to NPR. Gallagher had been cleared of first-degree murder and war crimes on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The case had drawn waves of onlookers, including President Trump, who came to Gallagher's defense throughout the trial and considered pardoning him. The rank reduction will affect Gallagher's salary and pension.

Gallagher had been facing first-degree murder charges for the death of the captive ISIS fighter. He was also up against attempted murder charges for shootings of civilians.

What they're saying: In a Fox and Friends interview Wednesday morning prior to his sentencing, Gallagher stated, "They tried to frame me as a criminal from the get go. ... We knew I was innocent of these charges the whole time."

  • Gallagher also offered his thanks to Fox News, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Ralph Norman for backing him and to Trump for "intervening when he did."
  • Trump tweeted a congratulations to Gallagher and his family Wednesday morning, stating, "You have been through much together. Glad I could help!"

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.