The Associated Press reports:
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that President Donald Trump gave him a direct order to allow a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes to retire without losing his SEAL status.
Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that Trump’s verbal order was the reason Esper announced Sunday that Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher would be allowed to retire with his Trident Pin, retaining his status as a SEAL.
Last week Trump had tweeted that he wanted Gallagher to be allowed to retire as a SEAL, but Esper’s comments Monday revealed that Trump had given the defense secretary a direct order to make this happen.
Time Magazine reports:
In announcing Sunday that he had dismissed Spencer, Esper said he acted after learning of Spencer’s secret plan to guarantee the outcome of a Navy SEAL peer-review board that was scheduled to convene Dec. 2 with the goal of recommending whether Gallagher should be allowed to retain his Trident.
Esper said he was “flabbergasted” when he learned at the White House on Friday that Spencer had gone behind his back to propose the secret deal.