Following reports that the military prosecutors of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher are receiving Navy Achievement Medals -- despite failing to secure a conviction for Gallagher on murder charges -- President Donald Trump is stepping into the fray.
On Tuesday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter, calling the medal awards "ridiculous" and demanding that they be rescinded.
"Not only did [the prosecutors] lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion," Trump tweeted. "I have directed the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer & Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson to immediately withdraw and rescind the awards."
A Navy official confirmed that Trump does have the authority to order the revocation of the awards, and that Spencer, accordingly, planned to rescind them.
The news site Task & Purpose was first to report that the Navy's Regional Legal Service Office in San Diego had presented Navy Achievement Medals to four military attorneys involved in the Gallagher case.
Gallagher, a chief special warfare operator, was accused and tried for allegedly stabbing to death a wounded ISIS fighter while deployed to Mosul, Iraq, and for shooting at unarmed local civilians. He was acquitted on all charges but one: a count of wrongfully posing for a photo with a corpse in the war zone.
According to the Task & Purpose report, the attorneys were lauded for their "superb results" and "expert litigation," despite failing to land a conviction on the most serious charges.
"No matter the result, we were right to prosecute [Gallagher]," the Regional Legal Service Office's chief of staff noted, according to a motion obtained by the publication.
It's not the first time Trump has gotten involved in Gallagher's case.
In March, Trump ordered the Navy to move Gallagher from solitary confinement "in honor of his past service to our Country." He referenced that intervention in Wednesday's tweet.
When the SEAL was acquitted of the most serious charges in July, Trump congratulated him and his family.
"Glad I could help!" he tweeted.
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.