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Report: American Pastor Set To Be Released After Trump Admin Reaches Secret Deal with Turkey

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The Trump administration and the Turkish government have reportedly reached an agreement for the release of Rev. Andrew Brunson.

NBC News, citing two unnamed senior administration officials and another briefed on the matter, reported that under the terms of the deal, Brunson would be released after certain charges are dropped against him at a hearing which is scheduled for Friday.

The officials cautioned that Turkey may not follow through on the agreement, noting the administration thought it was very close to securing the pastor’s release in July.

Brunson, 50, was arrested in October 2016 and has been held in Turkey for the last two years on espionage and terrorism-related charges. He faces a sentence of up to 35 years in prison.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan claims the North Carolina preacher supported a failed 2016 coup attempt.

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Brunson has lived in Turkey for more than two decades leading the Resurrection Church in the city of Izmir, in the western part of the country.

“We continue to believe Pastor Brunson is innocent, and the hearing on Friday is another opportunity for the Turkish judicial system to free an American citizen,” an administration official said.

“An agreement on Brunson’s release was advanced in discussions last month between Turkish and U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, during the gathering of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the senior administration officials and person briefed on the matter said,” according to NBC News.

Would the pastor's release be a significant victory for the Trump administration?

The deal is believed to involve the easing of economic sanctions put in place in August after Turkey refused to release Brunson.

At that time, Trump also authorized the doubling of existing steel and aluminum tariffs against Turkey, The Washington Post reported.

Further, Congress passed legislation freezing the sale of 100 F-35 fighter aircraft.

In a speech Wednesday night, Pompeo expressed confidence Brunson would be released soon.

“I’m very hopeful that before too long, Pastor Brunson will — he and his wife will be able to return to the United States,” he stated. “President Trump has had a focus on it, the administration’s had a focus on it, and we’re very hopeful that we’ll see a good outcome before too long.”

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Last last month at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., Pompeo said securing the release of three American prisoners, including a pastor, from North Korea had been the most rewarding experience to date of his tenure at the State Department.

He promised the evangelical crowd on hand that the U.S. was doing everything in its power to free Brunson.

“He has been wrongly held,” Pompeo said. “And his proper place is to be able to return here to once again practice his faith in our great nation.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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