President Trump’s Comments on Green Beret Charged with Murder Rile Legal Experts


Karen Greenberg was quoted in an NBC News article about President Trump’s involvement in the case of a former Army Green Beret charged with murder.

President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter over the weekend that he will be “reviewing” the case of a former Army Green Beret charged with murder has caused worry in national security and military circles — since it is the kind of thing a president is not supposed to do.

But Trump’s actions are worrying national security experts, who fear presidential involvement in a still-pending military court case will make it harder to have a fair trial.

Rachel VanLandingham, the former chief of international law with U.S. Central Command under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and now a professor at Southwestern Law School, told NBC News that Trump, as commander in chief, has “an obligation to ensure a fair administration of military justice.”

To do this, VanLandingham said, the president cannot pressure lower-level commanders to make decisions, which she believes the president did in his tweet on Sunday.

Dr. Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham Law School’s Center for National Security, agreed, telling NBC News “It’s inappropriate for the executive [branch]to interfere.”

Despite such precedent, Greenberg stressed that “for the most just outcome, what you want is the judicial system — whether they’re inside the military or whether they’re inside the federal court system — to operate independently.”

“To interfere in the charging or other procedural part of the military trial would be unacceptable,” Greenberg said. She added that Trump’s tweet is “one more sign of the president’s disregard for the courts, and their presumed independence from White House interference.”

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