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Trump pardon? White House signals interest in possible pardons of accused war criminals

The Justice Department has requested the case files of accused war criminals from the Pentagon, a U.S. official tells CBS News national security correspondent David Martin, signaling that President Trump might be interested in pardoning them.

One of the document requests is for the Navy SEALs’ Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who is scheduled to stand trial soon against charges that he shot unarmed civilians and knifed a captive enemy in Iraq. Mr. Trump already said in March that Gallagher would be moved to “less restrictive confinement.”

The administration has also requested paperwork for a former Blackwater security contractor found guilty in the 2007 shooting of unarmed Iraqis; Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, accused of killing an unarmed Afghan in 2010; and for a group of Marine Corps snipers charged with urinating on dead Taliban fighters. The New York Times first reported the interest in possible pardons.

Who is Conrad Black?

Last week, the president pardoned Conrad Black, a convicted fraudster who wrote a singing biography of the president in 2018. He also pardoned Patrick Nolan, the former Republican leader of California’s state assembly who pleaded guilty to racketeering in the ’90s. Earlier this month, the president pardoned a former U.S. soldier who killed an Iraqi prisoner. Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone in 2009. The American Civil Liberties Union declared the pardoning of Behenna a presidential endorsement of murder that violated the military’s own code of conduct.

Mr. Trump has not publicly offered any intention of a pardon for the accused or convicted war criminals.