He only wanted mementos


A felon pleaded his case on ‘Fox & Friends.’ Days later, Trump pardoned him.

Some 1.6 million people tune in to “Fox & Friends” every morning, but when Kristian Saucier told the network why he believed he should be pardoned for his national-security-related felony conviction, he clearly had one very specific, very powerful fan of the show in mind: the viewer-in-chief.

“Obviously, there’s two different sets of laws in this country, for the politically elite and for those lower-level individuals, Americans like myself,” he said on the network Sunday. “And I think that’s very upsetting on a basic level for most people. It should be.

“I accepted responsibility. I didn’t go to trial. I pleaded guilty. I said, ‘Look, I made a mistake when I was a young kid, and my family still continues … to be punished for that mistake.’ Whereas Hillary Clinton not only was not punished, but was allowed to run for the highest office in the country, and that should be very upsetting to the American people.”

And Trump took the bait. Of course, Clinton didn’t do what Saucier did, but don’t let that stop you. Less than a week later Trump pardoned Saucier and gave him a high five on Twitter.

So what did this hero do?

Saucier’s self-imposed saga started in 2009, when he snapped photos inside the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Alexandria while it was in Groton, Conn. The sailor, then 22, said he only wanted mementos of his service as a machinist’s mate on the sub. But federal prosecutors painted him as a disgruntled Navy man whose pictures of the sub’s reactor compartment and propulsion system were a national-security risk.

The “mementos” claim doesn’t wash. Here’s how I know: my brother was in the Navy (the fam had a good time for awhile calling him Ensign Benson, until promotion to Lt jg spoiled that fun), and we once went to visit him and his ship. It was some kind of open house for relatives thing, I guess, because we got to go on board and walk around on deck a little. But. At some point while we were on shore looking at all the ships and chatting, I took a snap of one, and my brother told me that was a big no-no. I was surprised because it seemed to be such a public place and the ships were just sitting there in plain view, so how were they enforcing that? I don’t remember what the explanation was, but I do remember that photography was a Big Red Flag. There’s no way Mr SauceMaker thought it was fine to take snaps inside the sub.

(Irrelevant detail: my brother’s ship was an aircraft carrier; it picked up the astronauts after one of the missions.)

The photos were discovered by chance in 2012. Saucier left his phone at a garbage dump in Hampton, Conn. A supervisor who found the phone powered it on, and showed the photos of the submarine to a retired Navy buddy who recognized the pictures for what they were. They went to authorities.

When federal agents confronted Saucier about the photos, he said the phone was his but initially denied snapping the pictures. Later, the FBI says, he went home, smashed his computer and camera, and flung the pieces in the woods behind his grandfather’s house.

Not all that similar to what Clinton did, is it. Nothing like it, in fact.

But Trump bought the lie. Of course he did.

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