Trump pardons ex-sailor whose case had similarities to Hillary Clinton's email server

Today, President Trump pardoned former submariner Kristian Saucier. In 2016, Saucier pleaded guilty to taking six photos inside the engine room of his sub. He spent a year in jail. From the Military Times:


Former Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Kristian Saucier pleaded guilty to the crime in 2016 and spent a year in jail. He had petitioned the White House for a full pardon, arguing that federal prosecutors targeted him for overly severe punishment in the wake of revelations that Clinton used a private email server to store classified emails.

“This is not justice” he wrote in a letter to the White House in January 2017.

On Friday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders announced the pardon and said the president was “appreciative of Mr. Saucier’s service to the country,” and said the felony conviction was excessive given his “commendable” military service record.

Our own Ed Morrissey started writing about this case back in 2015, noting the similarities, and more importantly the differences, between how Saucier’s case was handled and how the investigation into Hillary’s secret email server was treated. Saucier faced up to 30 years in prison for taking six cell phone photos inside his sub but there was never any evidence that he had planned or attempted to reveal the classified information to anyone. In short, there was no intent to mishandle classified information. And as Politico made clear in 2016, the information in the photos was classified but at the lowest level, while the material that passed through Clinton’s email server was classified up to top secret:


The Navy says the photos are classified “confidential,” which is the lowest tier of protection for classified information and is designated for information that could cause some damage to national security but not “serious” or “exceptionally grave” damage.

Intelligence agencies claim that Clinton’s account contained 65 messages with information considered “Secret” and 22 classified at the “Top Secret” level. Some messages contained data under an even more restrictive “special access program” designation.

When FBI Director Comey announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would prosecute Clinton under the circumstances, Saucier’s attorney responded in an interview with Ed:

“Clearly, a double standard [exists],” Saucier’s attorney Derrick Hogan told me hours after Comey’s statement. “To me, there’s really nothing that Mrs. Clinton did that was any different than what Mr. Saucier did.” Saucier currently faces 63 to 78 months in prison for the 793(e) violations.

Once the Trump administration was inaugurated, Saucier’s attorney filed a request for a pardon. Today that pardon was granted. Here’s an interview with Saucier from January.

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David Strom 5:20 PM | February 22, 2024