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Former Army lawyer rips Trump’s scheme to pardon war criminals: ‘This makes me sick’

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Former U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Glenn Kirschner on Saturday ripped President Donald Trump after The New York Times reported President Donald Trump was considering pardoning war criminals.

“As a former career prosecutor, including 6 years as an Army JAG, this makes me sick,” he said.

“Please bear with me as this will take a minute: Our military criminal justice system protects the rights of soldiers accused of crimes as well as, if not better then, many civilian systems,” he noted.

“It’s rarely an easy decision to prosecute a soldier, particularly for crimes committed during a time of war or otherwise in a hostile environment. But we expect, indeed demand, that our soldiers not commit murder/war crimes/atrocities while in military service,” he explained.

“Indeed, the need to maintain good order and a cohesive fighting force requires that soldiers act in a law-abiding way even under the most difficult circumstances,” he continued. “Military commanders & prosecutors often agonize over decisions whether to charge a soldier with a criminal offese (sic).”

“This is, in part, because we recognize the sacrifices soldiers make for their country, putting their lives on the line to protect our people and our freedoms,” he said. “But when a decision ultimately is made to court-martial a soldier, the system takes great pains to insure (sic) that soldiers receive excellent legal representation & fair trials.”

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“Enormous time/effort goes into investigations, prosecutions and, in the event of conviction, appeals. I know this first hand, having handled as an Army prosecutor (in both the trial courts and appellate courts) cases including murder during Operation Just Cause, espionage during Operation Desert Storm, death penalty litigation & many others,” he explained.

“Today I saw this NYT’s article that Trump is ginning up pardons of soldiers who criminally killed others, intending to use it as some sort of twisted Memorial Day celebration,” he noted. “Among the pardons reportedly being contemplated are cases involving the Blackwater security firm. Please bear with me for a moment while I relate some basic public facts about the Blackwater case. The defendants were US civilians (veterans) who were being paid to perform security services in Iraq. Multiple Blackwater employees opened fire on innocent Iraqis in what was a massacre in broad daylight. They killed 14 unarmed Iraqi citizens and injured 17 others in front of dozens of witnesses

“Some of the testifying witnesses were the defendants own Blackwater teammates,” Kirschner said. “Many of the fellow Blackwater members testified about how the defendants were in the wrong – they did not even attempt to defend their teammates, rather they described their teammates’ use of deadly force as being wholly unjustified and without provocation. Evidence at trial included how one defendant, Nicholas Slatten, called Iraqis ‘animals’ and ‘less then human.’ According to Slatten, Iraqi lives were worth ‘nothing.’”

“My former office, the DC US Attorney’s Office, prosecuted the case, obtained convictions and brought justice to the surviving victims & the families of the dead (I didn’t work on the case),” he continued. “I saw the enormous time, energy and resources that went into that prosecution It was important that the perpetrators of those horrific offenses were brought to justice. Now Trump, in a twisted, grotesque “celebration” of Memorial Day, wants to pardon these and other murderers?”

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“What message is he really trying to send to the military?” Kirschner noted.

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Trump’s DC hotel billed the Secret Service $200,000 in his first year of office: report

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., billed the Secret Service $200,000 in just 2017.

Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal a stunning expenditure of security money paid to the Trump property, which was run out of the Old Post Office building and on lease from the General Services Administration. In one instance, the Secret Service spent $30,000 in two nights.

GSA has been criticized for its failure to consider conflicts of interest in leasing the building to the president in an inspector general report.

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Eric Trump declines to press charges against Chicago waitress who spit on him

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Eric Trump declined to press charges against a waitress who spit on him at an upscale cocktail bar in Chicago.

The waitress was taken into custody after spitting on President Donald Trump's younger son at The Aviary in the city's West Town neighborhood, and she was placed on leave by the bar's management, reported the Chicago Tribune.

“Eric was out to dinner on business, when a waitress … spit in his face,” a Trump Organization representative said in an email. Secret Service and Chicago police “immediately apprehended her and held her in handcuffs for approx(imately) two hours. Chicago PD was intending on pressing charges however Eric directed them not to and she was let go.”

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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