Patrick Shanahan Out As Secretary Of Defense After FBI Background Check Discovers Red Flags

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is out president Trump just announced. It seems his background check – he was acting and had not been confirmed by the Senate – raised some red flags.

Shanahan chose to withdraw his name for the permanent position rather than drag Trump through another contentious hearing with the Democrats in the Senate.

From The Hill: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration to lead the Pentagon on a permanent basis, President Trump announced Tuesday.

The announcement came after USA Today published the details of a 2010 violent domestic dispute with his then-wife that was investigated by the FBI for his background check.

“Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family,” Trump tweeted.

From USA Today: The FBI has been examining a violent domestic dispute from nine years ago between acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and his then-wife as part of a background investigation ahead of his possible confirmation hearing to be President Trump’s permanent defense chief.

The incident, in which Shanahan and his then-wife Kimberley both claimed to the police that they had been punched by the other, did not surface when Trump nominated Shanahan to be the Pentagon’s second-in-command two years ago, or when he was selected to be the interim defense chief this year.

Shanahan said he “never laid a hand on” his former wife. His former wife, who now goes by the name Kimberley Jordinson, said she stands by her account.

The episode could be a potential roadblock for Shanahan if Trump formally nominates him for the secretary’s post, which requires Senate confirmation, because a key lawmaker and Senate aides said it could raise questions about his ability to combat longstanding problems of violence against women in the military.

Among the concerns of Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services committee, and Senate aides: They were not fully aware of the incident when Shanahan was confirmed for the No. 2 position; and the Senate should have the opportunity to assess whether he was the aggressor or victim and how that could affect his ability to lead the armed forces.

“The question is going to be whether or not he’s credible on the issue. If he’s credible, he’ll be OK,” said Leon Panetta, who was defense secretary and CIA director during President Barack Obama’s administration. “These days nothing is out of bounds.”

Shanahan said in a statement that the episode documented in his divorce and police records “is not dissimilar to those of the many families facing the difficult challenges that come when a loved one struggles with substance abuse and other emotional issues. I wish nothing but the best for her and regret that my children’s privacy has been violated and they are being forced to relive a tragic situation that we have worked so hard as a family to put behind us.”