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Navy Chief Stands in 'Open Defiance' of the President

US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer wants review of Edward Gallagher to continue
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2019 2:45 PM CST

(Newser) – The battle over a tarnished Navy SEAL is heating up in Washington. On Friday, US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer lent his support to a pending Navy panel that will decide the military future of Edward Gallagher—despite President Trump's assertion that Gallagher remain a SEAL, Reuters reports. "I believe the process matters for good order and discipline," said Spencer at a security forum in Canada. "I think we have a process in place, which we're going forward with, and that’s my job." The rare moment of Defense Dept. resistance to Trump sparked headlines and appeared to infuriate Gallagher's lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, who said he was "stunned" by this "open defiance of the commander-in-chief by a service secretary, on foreign soil, of all places."

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Parlatore also shrugged off a question about whether his client would appear at next month's Navy review, which was ordered by Rear Adm. Collin Green: "Let's see if Green and the Navy secretary are even still around tomorrow," said Parlatore. But the Pentagon has been quietly seething over Trump's decision to clear three armed services members, including Gallagher, who were convicted or accused of war crimes, per the New York Times. Gallagher was cleared of charges including the murder of an ISIS captive, but convicted of having discredited the armed services by posing for photos with the man's corpse. His demotion in rank and pay grade was rejected by Trump in a tweet. (Read more Navy SEALs stories.)

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