New York Times reporter Dave Philipps joins Deadline White House panel to discuss the Navy SEALs' testimony against Eddie Gallagher. As usual, Fox News figures prominently.
December 28, 2019

Filling in for Nicolle Wallace on "Deadline White House," Alicia Menendez spoke with David Philipps about his disturbing and explosive report in Friday's New York Times about retired-not-fired Navy SEAL, Eddie Gallagher. His soldiers were under such duress from Gallagher's homicidal tendencies towards civilians in Iraq, they testified against him at his trial — a rare breach of what's considered an unbreakable bond among this secretive elite military brotherhood. Philipps' reporting uncovered hundreds of texts between the soldiers about Gallagher, and what was said in interviews with investigators.

Gallagher was going to be expelled from the SEALs, but shock of shockers, Trump intervened, because who doesn't love an indiscriminate killer of brown people more than Trump? Yes, kids, he forced the Navy to not only re-instate him, but allow him to keep his SEAL trident, and retire with full honors. The icing on the war crimes cake? A visit to Mar-a-Lago!

But don't take it from me that this guy is a sadist of the first order. Listen to how his comrades described him, from the video Philipps put together for The Times.

SEAL 1: I heard more rumors and stuff like that of Eddie targeting civilians.

SEAL 2: I saw Eddie take a shot at probably a 12-year-old kid.

INTERVIEWER: What was his official position?
SEAL 3: He was the platoon chief.

PHILIPPS: This massive leak gives us insight into a very secretive brotherhood of commandos that otherwise we would never get to see.

SEAL 4: The guy got crazier and crazier.

SEAL 3: You could tell he was perfectly okay with killing anybody.

SEAL 1: I see Eddie leaning over him with a knife.

PHILIPPS: This is a case where some seals who are not supposed to take things outside the family turned in their own chief.

SEAL 4: The guy was toxic.

SEAL 1: We can't let this continue.

SEAL 5: It's f*cked up.

PHILIPPS: These guys who believe in doing good and had the courage to act, it's just that things didn't turn out how they thought.

UNKNOWN SEAL 1: There were civilians everywhere.

UNKNOWN SEAL 2: We have a problem.

UNKNOWN SEAL 3: He's a psychopath.

UNKNOWN SEAL 4: The guy's frikkin evil, man.

In true Trumpian fashion, Gallagher wrapped himself in innocent victim/hero status, and blamed his accusers for being the cowards. He insisted they all made the story up because THEY were afraid of being called out for not living up to HIS high standards. Where did he do this? Where would it be most effective? Where would he have the highest chance of escaping consequences for murder?

Fox News. As Philipps outlined, Gallagher knew exactly where to go to make sure he'd not shoulder an ounce of blame.

PHILIPPS: Uh, it's really sort of a Fox News story. Eddie Gallagher's family took his case to Fox News where it was presented repeatedly, especially on Fox and Friends, and the family, they appealed directly to the president, and the president intervened. First he let Eddie Gallagher out of pretrial confinement against the Navy's wishes. Then he moved him to even less restrictive quarters before trial. And when the trial was done, he congratulated him on twitter saying, "Glad I could help."

After that he basically blocked every type of punishment that the Navy tried to give this SEAL. The Navy really thought that Chief Gallagher had no business being a SEAL, that he was a discredit to the service, and they wanted to essentially fire him. But as the Commander in Chief, Mr. Trump said, "No, you can't do that." And he allowed Chief Gallagher to retire with full honors.

When Menendez turned to Glenn Kirschner to ask about the consequences of morale in the military, especially in light of the whole incident leading to the firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer because he objected to Trump's intervention, Kirschner spoke to the anguish of the individual SEALS, and any military member who must speak out against unlawful behavior among their peers or superiors.

KIRSCHNER: You know, what president Trump did by granting this pardon was so demoralizing and disrespectful of the military members that we ask to do impossibly difficult things, put their lives on the line, leave their families for extended periods of time. And when they see a fellow soldier committing a crime, speak up and tell the truth about what they saw. Now, I was an active duty army prosecutor at JAG for six years before becoming a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC, and I can tell you how difficult it is to build court martial prosecutions by having to use soldiers as witnesses against the soldier who's on trial. Extraordinarily difficult.

MENENDEZ: Because it goes against their code of conduct?

KIRSCHNER: It actually is in keeping with their code of conduct. Because before we enter active duty, we are taught that, as important as it is to obey a lawful order, it's even more important to disobey an unlawful order. Seven of the 12 team members, platoon members under Gallagher, testified against him. A few didn't testify, and one it's reported, lied. And they had seen Gallagher, according to Dave's reporting in today's New York Times, do so much, that they called him "evil," "toxic" and they said he would shoot any man, woman, or child who moves, civilians. And they did the extremely hard thing of telling the truth about the crimes of a fellow soldier. We need to support our war fighters, as president Trump said. We don't need to support war criminals.

It's hard to choose which is more frightening. A president who exonerates and celebrates the indiscriminate killing of brown people by the military, or that these war criminals know if they go on Fox News, Trump will take up their murderous cause.

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