Esper says Trump ordered him to allow SEAL to keep status

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ROBERT BURNS AP National Security Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that President Donald Trump gave him a direct order to allow a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes to retire without losing his SEAL status. Esper told reporters at the Pentagon that Trump's order was the reason he announced Sunday that Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher would be allowed to retire with his Trident Pin, retaining his status as a SEAL. Last week Trump had tweeted that he wanted Gallagher to be allowed to retire as a SEAL, but Esper's comments Monday revealed that Trump had given the defense secretary a direct order to make this happen. Gallagher was acquitted of murder in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive but convicted of posing with the corpse whil
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