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Trump Says Shanahan Out as Acting Defense Secretary

By VOA News June 18, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration as secretary of defense, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Trump said Army Secretary Mark Esper will replace Shanahan as acting defense secretary.

Esper was believed to have been a leading contender as defense secretary if Shanahan was not confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

USA Today reported Tuesday the FBI has been investigating a nine-year-old domestic dispute between Shanahan and his then-wife, Kimberly, as part of a background check before the confirmation hearing.

The newspaper USA Today said Shanahan and his former wife confirmed in court filings and police reports the dispute intensified into a fight.

The withdrawal of Shanahan from consideration comes amid rising U.S. tensions with Iran.

Trump has not had a permanent defense secretary since Jim Mattis resigned in December.

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