Trump defends intervention in war crimes cases
President Donald Trump on Monday defended his intervention in the cases of three service members implicated in war crimes, asserting that he was “sticking up” for America’s armed forces amid an escalating controversy over the ouster of his Navy secretary.
“There’s never been a president that’s going to stick up for them, and has, like I have,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, charging that “some very unfair things were happening” and touting his administration’s increases in defense spending.
The president went on to contrast his recent interference in the military justice system with the treatment of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Chelsea Manning, a whistleblower and former Army intelligence analyst.
“You let Sgt. Bergdahl go, you let others go, including a young gentlemen — now a person — who President Obama let go who stole tremendous amounts of classified information,” he said, referring to Manning.
A military judge ruled in 2017 that Bergdahl would not serve any time in prison after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
Manning, who rose to prominence in 2010 after passing along hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military reports to WikiLeaks, was convicted by court-martial in 2013, but former President Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence in 2017.
“So when you have Chelsea Manning, who stole classified information and did many, many things that were not good, and gets pardoned, or whatever happened, and you have a Sgt. Bergdahl who gets virtually nothing happens, a slap on the wrist, and then they want to put these warriors in jail for 25 years,” Trump said Monday…….read more