Trump Rescinds Medals For Prosecutors In Gallagher Case

President Donald Trump took a highly extraordinary — and in my view a highly inappropriate — step on Wednesday in ordering the Navy to rescind the achievement medals awarded to military prosecutors in the case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was accused of murder and other crimes in his killing of a teenage ISIS fighter who was his prisoner in 2017 in Iraq. It is hard not to view the President’s intervention as retaliation against prosecutors who took an unpopular case and carried out their duties despite being publicly ridiculed by the Commander in Chief. The move undermines the professionalism and independence of the military justice system.

These awards are given to both prosecutors and defense counsel for performing their roles in the criminal justice system. Trump simply declared the awards “ridiculous” because he opposed any prosecution for Gallagher — a position rejected by many in the military.

One of the prosecutors, Brian John, had to take over the difficult case when the former lead prosecutor was removed.

Gallagher was acquitted of the murder charge, along with other charges of attempted murder of two noncombatants, Gallagher was convicted of wrongful posing for an unofficial picture with a human casualty.

Trump’s public stance on the case was itself problematic since presidents have avoided any such comments or actions on pending prosecutions. However, this seems just vindictive and retaliatory against military lawyers who were doing their job.

51 thoughts on “Trump Rescinds Medals For Prosecutors In Gallagher Case”

  1. Those who haven’t worn the uniform have not earned the right at all to any comment.The only possible exception is one you are blathering about. In this case and who was refused for military service got the job anyway. How many others would have perservered to that extent. How many commenting never did.

    Or did you ever stop to ask why was this country involved then and is still involved now with what amounts to just another form of slavery and is ready to implement it at a moment’s notice…. again. If that happens are you finger pointers going to own up to be a draft dodger? Witihout stopping toi think it through and realize what you became instead was a slave owner?

    the whole issue was about how the law can be used to prosecute those at one level and reward others involved at a higher level.

    My Lai is a classic example but these recent cases involving national security hit home as well.

    Lieutenant Calley was convicted but what hapened to his superiors:

    In this case the same thing happened again. the combatant who is heavily under pressure got screwed and his superiors got to tie a yellow ribbon around their service record.

    And some wannabe never willls get to play monday morning quarter back having never played in the game.

    Better you wear your shame silently

  2. You may be missing something. The medal is awarded for “specific achievement of a superlative nature…”. These awards are often drafted early so that the administration is complete and the award can be presented in a timely manner. If the narrative reflects a successful prosecution and the defendant was acquitted, the narrative would need to be changed and submitted again if the commander deems the recipient deserving.

  3. “Am I missing something here?” asked one. “How on earth are people of whatever race, colour creed etc supposed to be able to provide legal advice of the caliber required of us by the SRA, the Ombudsman and our insurers if their grasp of the English language is insufficient for them to be able to read the case law, commentary and legal texts required to pass the exams – or is that no longer necessary?”

    “Do the powers that be not realise just how patronising and racist they are? Why on earth should they assume that BAME candidates can’t cope with a level playing field? It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong,” commented another.

    Talk about a race to the bottom.

    https://summit.news/2019/08/01/uk-lawyers-exam-may-scrap-writing-section-to-help-non-white-candidates/

  4. We are all “good Germans now!”
    Principle VI (b)

    The Nuremberg principles: what constitutes a war crime?

    Principle VI
    “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

    (a) Crimes against peace:
    (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
    (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
    (b) War crimes:
    Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, …

    The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II.

    The principles

    Principle I
    “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.”

    Principle II
    “The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.”

    Principle III
    “The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law, acted as Head of State or responsible government official, does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.”

    Principle IV
    Main article: Superior orders
    “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”.

    This principle could be paraphrased as follows: “It is not an acceptable excuse to say ‘I was just following my superior’s orders'”.

    Previous to the time of the Nuremberg Trials, this excuse was known in common parlance as “Superior Orders”. After the prominent, high-profile event of the Nuremberg Trials, that excuse is now referred to by many as the “Nuremberg Defense”. In recent times, a third term, “lawful orders” has become common parlance for some people. All three terms are in use today, and they all have slightly different nuances of meaning, depending on the context in which they are used.

    Nuremberg Principle IV is legally supported by the jurisprudence found in certain articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which deal indirectly with conscientious objection. It is also supported by the principles found in paragraph 171 of the Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status which was issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Those principles deal with the conditions under which conscientious objectors can apply for refugee status in another country if they face persecution in their own country for refusing to participate in an illegal war.

    Principle V
    “Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.”

    Principle VI
    “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

    (a) Crimes against peace:
    (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
    (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
    (b) War crimes:
    Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
    (c) Crimes against humanity:
    Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”
    Principle VII
    “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.”

    dennis hanna

  5. i read Navy Times accounts of the beefs with Gallagher. His lawyers said, basically Gallagher was a hard charger who wanted daytime engagements with the enemy, and his noobie Seal subordinates did not like this, they prefered the safer night time raids, so they cocked up a lot of beefs against him to get rid of him. And of course NCIS ran with it.

    I can buy that. “his methods have become….unsound”

    https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/04/22/what-motivated-fellow-seals-to-dime-out-eddie-gallagher/

  6. Trump “cares” about the flaws in the military justice system in the same way he “cares” about black US musicians being prosecuted overseas and “cares” about workers in the US who are losing their jobs due to factory closings. It is all about Trump, all the time. His behavior is that of an extreme narcissist.

    Being extremely adept at marketing and hucksterism, Trump has attracted a crowd of worshippers and supporters, some of them quite intelligent and articulate, who tie themselves in knots and logical Möbius strips in efforts to justify behavior that non-worshippers rightfully characterize as obscene and/or harmful to the interests of this country.

    What is truly disappointing (but sadly not surprising) however, is the fact that someone as intelligent as Prof. Turley chooses to highlight Trump’s flaws through a blog post on this particular topic. That choice illustrates Turley’s unwillingness call out Trump on more fundamental and serious problems.

    This place used to be a place where it was possible to sometimes have reasoned discussions. Now it is populated largely by scatologists and polemicists. You will be able to see that in 3….2…..1…..

    1. Hi Don! Did you say it was my turn at watch on the poopy talk polemic patrol?

      Oh wait that was “Don de Drain” not “Don Trump.” Sorry Don de Drain, I only take orders from DONALD J TRUMP

      HAIL TO THE CHIEF

  7. JT: “However, this seems just vindictive and retaliatory against military lawyers who were doing their job.”

    And Trump is both.

  8. There shouldn’t be any medals for prosecutors “doing their jobs.” Anyone who has followed this story knows that at least one, if not more, of the prosecutors engaged in extremely serious misconduct in an all-out, Hell-bent devotion to winning at any cost. Medals for prosecutors only encourage this type of abuse of power and seriously threaten the rights and liberty of the accused.

  9. The lead prosecutor of this case was removed for severe misconduct. He attempted to spy on defense counsel by embedding a virus/Trojan horse in an email he sent to defense attorneys that would relay to the prosecution all defense communication. The case should have been dismissed at that time. Do you think that the many other prosecutors on the case were unaware of this? Of course not!!

    1. This is a common practice of prosecutors, win at all costs. Was a defense attorney for many years so speaking from first hand experience. Not all, but far too many.

      1. Yes Ray, and we all know that defense attorneys as a group are dispassionate seekers of the truth.

        Amusing watching the stooges fall in line again for another lowering of the bar for presidential behavior. Hey, it’s not like some future Democratic president might use this precedent, and if he/she does, this group will undoubtedly stand with him on principle.

  10. What part of Continuity and Stability of Government don’t you people understand? You can add to that, what part of all Legislative Authority is vested in Congress don’t you understand? How about that the President must bring to the attention of Congress information for those matters that he feels are necessary and expedient, for their consideration, assembling Congress if they are in recess. Or, that the President shall have Power, By and With the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties and Appointments, Provided 2/3 of the Senators Present Concur. By the way, By and With mean Before and During, Not After. Let’s try that the President is only the Commander and Chief of the Military, when they are called into actual service, by Congress, not by the President or his assembled administration.

    What is the President’s Authority? To implement the laws and negotiate Foreign Policy that has been determined by Congress, the Union of the States in Congress Assembled, The Union that makes our Country the United States of America! Which means the President is not a leader, does not have policy, and absolutely has no authority to act without the Advice, Consent, and Concurrence of the States as the Union.

    1. federalistknowslessthanaten-year-old:
      “Let’s try that the President is only the Commander and Chief of the Military, when they are called into actual service, by Congress, not by the President or his assembled administration.”

      (…)

      “Which means the President is not a leader, does not have policy, and absolutely has no authority to act without the Advice, Consent, and Concurrence of the States as the Union.”
      *********************

      At the risk of taxing your reading comprehension I ask you read the following sentence, diagram it if you need to and tell me why the last ten words don’t apply ONLY to the state militias:

      “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” (Art. II, Sec. 2)

      Then you can read the NSA of 1947 to find he’s also the commander of all US forces including the newly formed Air Force and the separate entity under the Navy, the Marines.

      1. Mespo,

        Prof Turley & others seem very slow.

        Prez Trump likely pissed off a lot of corrupt prosecutors, but on the other hand lots of citizens, current & former police & military & especially special forces people liked what Trump did.

        So when the crap hits the fan who would you rather have supporting you. 😉

      2. What, you can’t read, it says he is the Commander in Chief when they are called into actual service, that can only be done by Congress, what part of that sentence don’t you understand? And again, nothing trumps the constitution, pun intended, and every law and statute must conform with the constitution. I could say more, but you don’t possess the level of comprehension for me to waste my time.

      1. Yeah, I’m sure Grenada would be much better off with Bernard Coard and Hudson Austin in charge.

  11. Hmmm, Just to be sure about this, the ‘player’s in this case get an award for behaving badly? Oh, and that was what an achievement medal was for? What ever happened for professional conduct, Hmmm?
    Since Oboma is anyone ever punished anymore for doing badly, or another way to ask that question is what happens when you do badly, make a mistake , or f**kup, Don’t you have to take responsibility instead of blaming someone or something else? Where is the YOUR accountability for being non-professional. Lawyers are supposed to follow a CODE OF ETHICS. Then IMO, do you job correctly and then you won’t have consequences!

  12. and in my view a highly inappropriate —

    He’s the commander-in-chief and you’re usually unintentionally revealing. Tyler Cowen is the same way.

  13. Let me get this straight we have a military justice system to police the actions of our military and punish not just rule infractions but also serious criminal offense that are tantamount to war crimes and you want to quibble with me about whether it is part of our justice system. The President has no business inferring with this system of military justice by punishing the prosecutors for doing their jobs. Now do you feel better. I stand by my comment relating to how this president views the justice system in this country…it’s all a tool to feed his base and his own political goals. It doesn’t matter to him if it’s the civilian or military arm of that justice system. He doesn’t care about justice, veterans or anyone else.

    1. His complaint is that someone outside the guild stood in judgment of someone inside the guild. It’s not the sort of complaint that induces you to admire the complainer.

  14. You are wrong on this, Mr. Turley. A lot of taxpayer money was wasted on poor prosecutorial performance. For that, they should not get even overtime pay.

  15. If you don’t achieve, should you really receive an achievement medal? Trump’s view was that the prosecution was vindictive and smacked of political correctness. These “achievers” spied on the defense during the trail and that’s why “Brian John, had to take over the difficult case when the former lead prosecutor was removed.” Not only that, these prosecutors prosecuted the wrong man even if (and it’s a big “if”) a crime was committed. Thus they’ve got more in common with unscrupulous Javert than downtrodden Hamilton Burger. Trump let ’em off easy. They should have gotten a courts martial.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/us/navy-seal-edward-gallagher-corey-scott.html

    1. Mespo, you have identified what is likely all that is wrong with the military judicial system that gives awards for doing their job. Why, they are only helping along the corrupt behavior of the legal profession by awarding bad behavior. They DID get off easy. What a bunch of attaboy’s BS that has become rogue. Thanks for hitting the bullseye on this one!

    2. Mespo, I remember the accusations against Allen West so I start off suspicious of those trying to rise in rank by prosecuting a man whose life was on the line. Why is it the left is so willing to give illegals that have broken American laws so much slack but they are unwilling to provide any slack to an American Citizen that puts his life on the line for his country? They are even willing to convict the American citizen if he is innocent.

      1. What Mr. Sailer calls ‘leapfrogging loyalties’. Don’t ya just love our professioinal-managerial stratum, the academics and media people especially.

        1. “Don’t ya just love our professioinal-managerial stratum, the academics and media people especially.”
          ***********************
          Charming to a fault. If they disappeared tomorrow, somehow we’d soldier on.

  16. Trump doesn’t believe in an independent judiciary or and independent DOJ. He seems to believe that the criminal justice system is this country is his to control and use for his political ends. Justice is the last thing on his mind. It’s all about feeding his base.

    1. JH:
      “Trump doesn’t believe in an independent judiciary or and independent DOJ. He seems to believe that the criminal justice system is this country is his to control and use for his political ends. Justice is the last thing on his mind. It’s all about feeding his base.”
      *****************************
      Well, it was the Navy not the DOJ. Trump has abided by every stupid, political decision against him and by extension the country preferring to wait until SCOTUS gets it right, and there is no evidence Trump thinks the “justice system is his to control.” You’re allowed to criticize a judge. He’s a government agent, you know.

      1. Maybe he has abided by every political decision (but I doubt it since he doesn’t abide anything he doesn’t like), but he certainly doesn’t abide the decisions of the courts where the concentration camps of the south west are concerned.

        1. There are no concentration camps in the Southwest, except in your talking points. As for detention centers, there’s an easy way to avoid being detained: stay home and don’t attempt to mob the border.

          1. Says the one who has little to do all day but post comments on JT’s blog. Important things that you’re doing… You’re making one hell of a difference, “This is absurd.”

            1. oh boy the camps again.

              Let’s take a page from the past, maybe a century ago. The Turks did not need concentration camps to resolve their grievances against Armenians.

              One day there will be neither camps nor detention centers needed at the border, either. The lesson will have been learned. So far, evidently, the lesson has not sunk in yet.

            2. How weak, spineless and spiteful you are behind the safety of your own wall. yet you deny that protection to others?

        2. What concentration camps of the south west? The wire dog cages built for children by the previous admistration by people who refuse to stand like a many or woman or numan being and identify themselves. I don’t brook fools gladly. Especially those who are not credible.

    2. “It’s all about feeding his base.” Which is not going to get any bigger. The utter repulsiveness of the man, if data these days is to be believed, is actually growing negatives in the sacred “Base.”

        1. the utter repulsiveness of those who comment and cannot live up to their oaths of office or support those who intentionally do not live up to their oaths of office is so apparent and then you ‘hide’ behind ‘if data is to be believed….and you can look in the mirror and not understand you are one and the same or wonder why you are so detested.

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