Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said over the weekend that President Donald Trump should “absolutely” pardon Navy SEAL Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher. Hunter, a Marine who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, defended Gallagher (an American soldier accused of war crimes).
“Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Hunter said at a border-issues forum in San Diego on Saturday. He added that he did not post the photos on social media “but a lot of my peers … have done the exact same thing.” When Hunter was asked whether Gallagher should be pardoned, Hunter said “absolutely.”
Former special operations chief Gallagher is set for trial on June 10; he’s charged with shooting civilians, including a school-age girl, and knifing to death a captured ISIS fighter receiving medical treatment in Iraq in 2017. Gallagher was ultimately reported by his own platoon, and faces 12 counts including murder, attempted murder, and obstruction of justice for allegedly attempting to intimidate troops reporting his crimes. He faces life in prison for his crimes.
But Hunter said he has seen helmet cam video of Gallagher’s actions overseas, which as not been released to the public. Hunter said it shows Gallagher trying to save the ISIS fighter, not kill him.
Even though Hunter wants to see President Trump pardon Gallagher, he also wants the trial to go forward so the public can “see how disgusting the military justice system is when it’s run by lawyers and bureaucrats [who] go after the war-fighter.”
Hunter used this opportunity to defend himself in the face of his own legal woes, saying, “our regular justice system is just as abusive as the military justice system. It’s not about justice.”
Hunter and his campaign manager/wife Margaret Hunter were indicted for charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, prohibited use of campaign funds and falsification of campaign finance records last August. They allegedly used campaign funds for personal expenses and to cover up campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Despite the allegations, Hunter was re-elected in Nov. 2018. Hunter and his wife were said to be “living paycheck to paycheck” at the time they were released on bond back in Aug. 2018.
[Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images]