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Donald Trump Celebrates Release of Pastor Andrew Brunson

In this July 25, 2018 photo, Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey. Brunson, who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges was released and will be put …
AP Photo/Emre Tazegul

President Donald Trump announced that Turkish officials freed Pastor Andrew Brunson on Friday, another diplomatic win for the administration.

“PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “WILL BE HOME SOON!”

The president also offered “thoughts and prayers” for the pastor as he prepares to return home after two years in a Turkish prison.

Trump took a special interest in Brunson’s case after Turkish officials imprisoned him for what the president described as “phony charges” of spying.

“Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason,” Trump wrote in April. “They call him a Spy, but I am more a Spy than he is”:

Trump took an aggressive stance with Turkey over Brunson’s detainment, announcing sanctions in August to pressure Turkish officials to free him.

“Pastor Brunson’s unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on August 1. “President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately”:

Ten days later, Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum:

Vice President Mike Pence also celebrated the release of Pastor Brunson:

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