President Trump issued two pardons on Friday for U.S. service members accused of war crimes, reportedly overruling even top military leaders to do so. A White House statement said Trump issued full pardons to Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance and Army Major Mathew Golsteyn. According to The New York Times, Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence for murdering two civilians and Golsteyn was facing murder charges for killing an unarmed Afghan who he thought was a bomb maker for the Taliban. Trump also reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was accused of murdering a teen ISIS prisoner but was found not guilty.
“The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted,” the statement read. The Army said it would implement the pardons, and recognized Trump's authority to give them in court-martial proceedings. The Times reports that military leaders fought against the pardons and demotion reversal. “I truly believe that we are blessed as a Nation to have a Commander-in-Chief that stands up for our warfighters, and cares about how they and their families are treated,” Gallagher wrote on Instagram following the announcement.