GOP chairman dismisses 'phony' report of Trump second guessing Shanahan nomination

GOP chairman dismisses 'phony' report of Trump second guessing Shanahan nomination
© Stefani Reynolds
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenators take oath for impeachment trial Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Senators see off-ramp from Iran tensions after Trump remarks MORE (R-Okla.) on Wednesday dismissed a news report that said President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE was having second thoughts on naming Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanEsper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Defense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall MORE as Defense secretary.
 
"It's just a phony report that the president's going soft on this. He's not. I talked to him as recently as yesterday, and he's still committed on Shanahan," Inhofe said when asked about the status of the nomination.
 
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NBC News reported on Tuesday that Trump "appears to be having second thoughts" about naming Shanahan to lead the Pentagon. Four sources told the outlet that Trump had been asking about alternative candidates to Shanahan, who has been acting secretary since the beginning of the year.
 
The White House announced Trump's intention to nominate Shanahan as Defense secretary in early May. His nomination has been in limbo since then as lawmakers wait for Trump to formally submit the nomination to the Senate.
 
In the meantime, Shanahan has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill to meet with senators. He told reporters, when spotted in the Senate late last week, that he thought his paperwork would be submitted "soon."
 
 
Inhofe told reporters on Wednesday that the hold-up had to do with waiting for the FBI's background check on Shanahan to wrap up and be submitted.
 
"They can't do that until after the FBI report comes in," Inhofe said, adding that it will probably be "another week" until the White House sends the nomination. 
 
A staffer who was standing next to Inhofe said the nomination could come as earlier as this week, though it might slip into next week.
 
Shanahan has had his ups and downs during the months-long process for picking a successor to Mattis, who resigned last year.
 
A high-profile feud with Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial Democratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-S.C.), an ally of Trump's, over Syria policy led to speculation that Shanahan could have trouble getting confirmed despite Republican control of the Senate.

In April, Shanahan faced an ethics review at the Pentagon. The Defense Department watchdog later cleared him of allegations that he violated his ethics agreement by favoring his former employer Boeing while serving in government.