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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 InhofeHouse Democrats back slower timeline for changing Confederate base names Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee Overnight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' MORE (R-Okla.) on Wednesday dismissed a news report that said President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE was having second thoughts on naming Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanProgressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper House Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis 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."
 
Asked about Shanahan's nomination, Trump said this week that he has "put it out officially" and the acting secretary, who served as deputy to former Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisProgressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper Talk grows of Trump firings at Pentagon, CIA MORE, "has to go through the process."
 
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 GrahamFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk 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.