Esper says Trump ordered him to allow SEAL to keep status

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper says President Donald Trump gave him a direct order that a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq be allowed to retire without losing his SEAL status.

Esper told reporters at the Pentagon Monday that was the reason he announced Sunday evening that Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher would be allowed to retire with his Trident Pin, retaining his status as a SEAL.

Esper also accused Navy Secretary Richard Spencer of secretly offering to the White House to rig the Navy disciplinary process to ensure the Gallagher not lose his Trident. Esper fired Spencer on Sunday.

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