Potential Next Presidential Pardon: Trump Names Highly Decorated Green Beret Officer

In a tweet on Sunday morning, President Trump said he was looking into the murder case of highly decorated Green Beret Officer Mathew L. Golsteyn as a potential presidential pardon.

Trump named Golsteyn, who received the Medal of Honor from President Obama, in a tweet where he said he was “charged with murder…[and] could face the death penalty from our own government.”

“At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero,’ Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder,” Trump said in the Sunday tweet. “He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas.”

In 2015, the Washington Post reported that Golsteyn was being investigated for murder and conspiracy.

Here’s more, from the report:

According to Army documents, the young officer disclosed to CIA personnel during a 2011 job interview that he had killed an unarmed Taliban fighter he suspected of being a bombmaker. The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, also suggest an elaborate cover-up that, if true, could amount to serious war crimes involving not only Golsteyn but fellow Green Beret soldiers.

However, the service closed a lengthy criminal investigation into the case last year without finding any evidence to charge Golsteyn. His lawyer and other supporters say that the service has exaggerated the claims and selectively released details from the case.

The case underscores a stunning fall for a highly regarded officer who has been lauded for his leadership and graduated from the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 2006. It has also pitted the Army against a war hero.

The Army has defended its actions, saying it had conducted its investigation without bias or outside influence.

And, via a 2018 Washington Post report:

A forthcoming Article 32 hearing will assess the evidence against former Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn and determine if the case should go to trial, said Phillip Stackhouse, the attorney. Golsteyn has been investigated by the military since 2011, when authorities say he admitted he had killed the man. His statement came during a polygraph test he took while applying for a job at the CIA, according to Army documents.

Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for Army Special Operations Command, confirmed the charge was read to Golsteyn. A hearing has not yet been scheduled, Bymer said.

The incident resulting in the murder charge occurred in February 2010.

“On Feb. 20, 2010, he repeatedly braved enemy fire after watching a Taliban sniper nearly hit a nearby Marine, launching a mission to kill the enemy marksman and coordinating numerous airstrikes, according to a military summary of his actions,” the Washington Post reports.

“Two days earlier, two Marines working with Golsteyn’s unit — Sgt. Jeremy R. McQueary, 27, and Lance Cpl. Larry M. Johnson, 19 — were killed by improvised explosives,” the report continued. “According to Army documents obtained by The Washington Post, Golsteyn later recounted during the job interview that afterward he and his soldiers began searching homes nearby and eventually found materials needed to make bombs like the one that had killed the Marines.”

And, via the Washington Post: “Golsteyn said that they brought the suspected bombmaker back to their base and that the man unexpectedly crossed paths with an Afghan tribal leader with whom Golsteyn’s team was working. When the leader expressed fear for his life, Golsteyn grew concerned about the consequences of letting the suspected insurgent go, Army documents said. He is alleged to have then shot the Taliban fighter.”