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Trump: I'm Reviewing a Murder Case

The president says 'many' people want him involved
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 16, 2018 4:58 PM CST
In this Dec. 13, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – President Donald Trump said Sunday he will be "reviewing" the case of a former US Army commando being charged with murder, raising questions about the possibility he could jeopardize the ongoing military legal proceedings. Trump tweeted that "at the request of many" he will examine allegations that Mathew Golsteyn hunted down and killed a suspected bomb-maker in Afghanistan, per the AP. The president tweeted that Golsteyn is a "US Military hero" who could face the death penalty "from our own government." Any review or intervention by Trump could constitute unlawful command influence and could threaten the case against the former Green Beret. In a statement Sunday, Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said that "the allegations against Major Matt Golsteyn are a law enforcement matter."

"The Department of Defense will respect the integrity of this process and provide updates when appropriate," he added. Trump and other senior military and administration leaders have issued statements about military criminal cases in the past, triggering legal appeals and other complications as the courts work to insure impartial proceedings. The president, however, does have broad authority to pardon criminal defendants. An Army statement on Friday said Golsteyn was charged with killing the Afghan during Golsteyn's 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. Golsteyn was leading a team of Army Special Forces troops at the time, and believed that the bomb-maker was responsible for an explosion that killed two US Marines. The Golsteyn case has bounced around since 2011 when he told the CIA in a job interview that he'd shot and killed the man. (Troubling details emerged in a hearing against a Navy SEAL.)


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