U.S. Army Officer Linked to War Crimes and Later Pardoned Says He Had Hope Once Trump Became President

A former officer in the United States Army, who was pardoned by President Donald Trump after serving six years of a 19-year prison sentence for war crimes in Afghanistan, said on Fox News Wednesday that he had had "hope" that he would be released after Trump's inauguration.

The officer, First Lt. Clint Lorance, 34, made the remarks during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on the show Hannity. Don Brown, Lorance's lawyer, who also wrote a book about his client's case, was also present in the interview.

In August 2013, Lorance was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder for ordering soldiers under his command to fire at three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, two of whom were killed. He was in prison for six years until Trump pardoned him on November 15.

Lorance told Hannity that Trump's victory in the 2016 election and his subsequent inauguration gave him renewed hope that he would be set free.

"January 20, 2017, my life changed forever, because I knew that I had hope that day," Lorance said, referencing the day that Trump was inaugurated into the office of president. "And I knew that, with President Trump getting elected, that I was going to go home.

"And, yeah, it took a while, but you know what? He's a busy man," Lorance continued. "He's being attacked from all sides, even from our own side."

This is not the first time Lorance has gone on Fox News to publicly discuss his appreciation for the president.

In a November 18 interview on Fox and Friends, he said: "You know, I can't tell you how much I appreciate President Trump and Vice President Pence. I just, I love them, they're awesome."

On Hannity, the host discussed the rules of engagement that Lorance was found to have broken. According to Lorance and Brown, the rules are so strict that a soldier cannot fire unless he is first fired upon, which they said can make it next to impossible to defend the lives of American soldiers who have been deployed to fight the Taliban and other enemies of the United States in a war.

"I just can't believe it," Hannity said. "If we're going to do this to guys we send to war, we can't send them. Because if you're not going to fight to win the war, what's the point?"

The host also suggested that the U.S. send "those guys in air-conditioned offices that want to sit back and judge [Lorance's] three-second decision," if it wants its wars to be fought by people who are not permitted to properly engage the enemy.

Brown, who mentioned that he has a son who has served in the army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, said that Trump has demonstrated that he has the best interests of American troops, like Lorance, in mind.

"But we have to codify, it so that never again does this happen where we prosecute a young American for taking out the enemy," Brown said.

At the close of the interview on Wednesday, Hannity offered Lorance an apology on behalf of the entire country for what he saw as his wrongful imprisonment. The soldier, however, replied that he did not want an apology, but rather simply for the government to amend its illogical war conduct laws.

"It just doesn't make any sense," Lorance said. "We're willing to go over there and drop bombs with drones in Yemen and places like that every single day, and take out wedding parties and so on and so forth. But when you have an infantryman on the ground making these impossible decisions, we sen[d] them to prison because ... some general gets embarrassed."

Clint Lorance
Former US Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance visits "Fox & Friends" on November 18, 2019 in New York, United States. John Lamparski/Getty