- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2020

Another showdown between the military and President Trump over his use of the president’s pardon powers may loom.

According to a report in The Washington Post, an Army general has refused a request by an officer whom Mr. Trump pardoned to get back his Special Forces tab.

Citing “two defense officials … speaking on condition of anonymity,” The Post reported that Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, had denied the request for reinstatement by retired Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn.

Maj. Golsteyn was scheduled to be tried this year on murder charges in the 2010 death of a Taliban bomb maker in Marja, Afghanistan. The officer had claimed he had merely set up an ambush that followed military law.

Mr. Trump short-circuited the trial though by pardoning Maj. Golsteyn in November, along with an Army officer convicted of murder and a Navy SEAL found guilty of posing with an ISIS guerrilla’s corpse.

According to the Post, the Army followed up Lt. Gen. Beaudette’s refusal of the Special Forces tab by asking an administrative board to consider other personnel decisions involving Maj. Golsteyn.

The board also will consider the effect of Mr. Trump’s pardons on Maj. Golsteyn’s Distinguished Service Cross, which had been approved before the investigation of the Taliban fighter’s death began, and the possible expunging of a letter of reprimand that Maj. Golsteyn received from a general, according to The Post.

A refusal by the Army to give Maj. Golsteyn back his pin would closely parallel the last high-profile tiff between the commander-in-chief and the uniformed services over war-crimes charges and military decorations.

After Mr. Trump pardoned Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher for his death pose, the Navy said it would still consider taking the officer’s Trident pin, thereby kicking him out of the elite SEAL force. Mr. Trump intervened again, saying that would not happen, and the Pentagon’s top brass ousted Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.

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