Navy Secretary Spencer fired for undermining military justice system in Gallagher Navy SEAL case

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Navy secretary fired over handling, 'lack of candor' in Eddie Gallagher case; SEAL will keep Trident pin, Pentagon says
Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Sunday over his handling of the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who posed for a photo next to an Islamic State group terrorist’s corpse in Iraq. Spencer was fired for "lack of candor" -- for dishonesty and undermining the military justice system, the senior U.S. official told Fox News.

The controversy swirled around whether the Navy would strip Gallagher of his Trident pin, which is bestowed on SEALs to reinforce "good order and discipline" across the force, a source told Fox News. In July, Gallagher was cleared of serious 2017 war crimes charges in Iraq, including premeditated murder, but convicted on a lesser offense of posing with the corpse of an ISIS fighter. He was demoted from chief petty officer to a 1st class petty officer following his conviction. President Trump this month restored Gallagher’s rank and ordered that the Navy halt its internal review of his actions.

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, on youth vaping and the electronic cigarette epidemic. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, on youth vaping and the electronic cigarette epidemic. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke to Trump on Friday with the intention of persuading the president to allow the Trident review board to go forward with its inquiry. Instead, Esper learned that Spencer previously and privately proposed to the White House – contrary to Spencer’s public position – to restore Gallagher’s rank and let him retire with his Trident pin, the Pentagon said. When Esper recently asked, Spencer confirmed that he'd never informed the defense secretary about his private proposal.

Spencer had asked Trump to let the Navy review board go forward, promising that the board would, in the end, allow Gallagher to keep his Trident and rank. He effectively suggested he would be willing to fix the results of the board, which is usually comprised of the defendant’s peers, a senior U.S. official told Fox News. Trump rejected the offer.

Esper ordered that Gallagher be allowed to keep his Trident pin, noting that it would be nearly impossible for him to get a fair hearing from the military in light of recent events, a senior official said. Trump late Sunday tweeted he would nominate Kenneth Braithwaite, the current U.S. ambassador to Norway and a retired Navy rear admiral, to replace Spencer. Click here for more on our top story.

Bloomberg officially enters 2020 presidential race - and his media company faces immediate ethics problems
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially launched his 2020 presidential campaign Sunday with the release of a one-minute video. However, his entry into the race has posed a dilemma for the news service that bears his name and editors at Bloomberg have already raised eyebrows with how they say they will approach their coverage.

Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait announced Sunday it will not “investigate” the candidate or any of his Democratic rivals, and Bloomberg Opinion will no longer run unsigned editorials. The entry of Bloomberg into the presidential race also raises potential conflict-of-interest questions involving his extensive business holdings, which go well beyond his news service.

Nunes doubles down on promise to sue CNN and Daily Beast over impeachment coverage
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who promised to sue CNN and the Daily Beast, told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo this week on "Sunday Morning Futures" that the only way to hold the "corrupt" media accountable is to challenge them in federal court.

Nunes first threatened legal action against both news organizations Friday for their coverage of the Trump impeachment inquiry proceedings. Both outlets had published stories claiming the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee had met with Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in Vienna in 2018 to push for an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Both stories cite former Rudy Guliani associate Lev Parnas, who was indicted in October for conspiring to violate the ban on foreign donations, prompting Nunes to question the validity of the source.

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