Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump has granted a full pardon to Michael Behenna, a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: Behenna was originally sentenced to 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing Ali Mansur Mohamed, which was later reduced to 15 years. The former Army first lieutenant has long said he acted in self-defense.

The big picture: Behenna was paroled in 2014 and had been scheduled to remain on parole until 2024. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter petitioned the White House for the pardon.

What they're saying: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the highest appeal court "noted concern about how the trial court had handled Mr. Behenna's claim of self-defense."

"Mr. Behenna’s case has attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public. ... Further, while serving his sentence, Mr. Behenna was a model prisoner. In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency."

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
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