President Donald Trump has vowed to review the case of Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, a former Green Beret who faces murder charges for the killing of a suspected Afghani terrorist.
“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,” he pledged in a tweet Sunday morning.
“He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas. @PeteHegseth @FoxNews”
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. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas. @PeteHegseth @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018
Golsteyn was recently charged in the premeditated murder of a Taliban bomb maker suspected of murdering two Marines, Sgt. Jeremy R. McQueary and Lance Cpl. Larry M. Johnson. All three killings occurred in Afghanistan eight years ago.
After a roadside bomb killed McQueary and Johnson, Golsteyn tracked down the suspect and brought him in for an interrogation. But thanks to the rules of engagement implemented by then-President Barack Obama, he was forced to release the suspect.
“There are limits on how long you can hold guys,” he revealed six years later in a 2016 interview with Fox News host Brett Baier, before admitting that he then tracked down the suspect again.
Except for this time he did more than just talk.
“Did you kill the Taliban bomb maker?” Baier asked him during the interview.
“Yes,” Golsteyn replied.
That single word wound up costing the once-decorated Green Beret everything. Granted, he had already lost plenty. Following the Taliban member’s death, a military tribunal removed Golsteyn from the Special Forces and withdrew his Silver Star but abstained from filing charges.
Because of his admission to Baier two years ago, the military reopened the investigation and has now formally charged him with murder.
“Major Matthew Golsteyn’s immediate commander has determined that sufficient evidence exists to warrant the referral of charges against him,” a spokesperson for U.S. Army Special Operations Command announced in a statement last week. “Major Golsteyn is being charged with the murder of an Afghan male during his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.”
Not only is Golsteyn outraged by this, but so are the parents of McQueary, one of the two Marines killed by the very terrorist whom prosecutors allege Golsteyn killed.
“I think that’s crazy,” David Kleinschmidt, McQueary’s stepdad, said to the media this weekend. “I don’t understand why they are bringing this up again. We were in a war — and things happen in war.”
He added that “personally, I think they should just drop [the charges] … I’m glad the guy is dead. I’m glad he found the guy. I’m glad the guy’s dead because I don’t think he should have been in society.”
— rats4america (@rats4america) December 16, 2018
McQueary mother, Deborah Kleinschmidt, appeared to agree.
“Our rules that we have to follow are not the rules that the Taliban follows, so why punish our guy for something that the enemy is doing to us?” she noted.
What remains unclear is what all the president could do for Golsteyn.
“Any review or intervention by Trump could constitute unlawful command influence and could threaten the case against the former Army Green Beret,” The Washington Times noted.
Some have suggested Trump preemptively pardon the former Green Beret:
— Not Politically Correct (@NotPolitically4) December 16, 2018
He is going to be punished for killing a terrorist? Pardon him!
— Vika Varkosh (@Vikavarkosh) December 16, 2018
Grant him a pardon! War is war!
— fran perry (@franper61445148) December 16, 2018
I urge you, Mr. President to pardon this soldier!
— Kari kordahl (@KariKordahl) December 16, 2018
Pardon him because it’s the RIGHT THING TO DO! The communist left want him executed because they despise the principles from which our country was founded on & he’s a defender of those principles so they look at him as the enemy! Pardon Pardon PARDON!!!?????
— Momo ?? (@SunTzuPing) December 16, 2018
It sounds like he’s a patriot and was doing his job on behalf of our country and to make the world safer from terrorism. What twisted justice would rule the death penalty for this hero? We need a million more just like him. Full pardon!
— Jen ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@jbtole2) December 16, 2018
It’s unclear whether this would be legal.
Golsteyn has for his part proclaimed his innocence since day one. He has however expressed some regret for his 2016 interview.
“I’m here right now because of that interview,” Golsteyn said last week to NBC News. “I did the interview because I wanted to do some advocacy, not talk about my case or what happened in Afghanistan.”
Yet he did talk about what happened in Afghanistan — and in such stark detail that the military is now confident he “assassinated” the unnamed bomb maker.
“They quoted me as saying that me and someone else with me took a detainee to his home and assassinated him,” he complained to NBC. “The problem is I never said that.”
“It was a complete lie,” he continued, adding that he’s done nothing wrong: “I have had commanders look me in the face and tell me I have done nothing wrong.”
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