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Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled

A controversial White House nominee has been placed in a senior role at the Pentagon after his confirmation hearing was canceled last week, according to a Pentagon spokesperson. 

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata withdrew his name from consideration to be the undersecretary of defense for policy, the spokesperson said Sunday. 

“He has been designated as the official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy reporting to the Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James Anderson. He looks forward to continuing to help implement the President’s National Security agenda,” the spokesperson added. 

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Senator Jack ReedJack ReedBiden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Overnight Defense: Biden nominating first female Army secretary | Israel gets tough on Iran amid nuclear talks | Army's top enlisted soldier 'very proud' of officer pepper sprayed by police On The Money: CDC extends coronavirus eviction ban through June 30 | Biden to detail infrastructure proposal Wednesday | US won't quickly lift Trump tariffs on China MORE (D-R.I.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, criticized the development, saying in a statement that if President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE's "goal is to hollow out, politicize, and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Department and Intelligence Community, then mission accomplished." 

"This is an offensive, destabilizing move and General Tata should not be appointed to a Senate-confirmed position," he added.

Reed also called the method of Tata's appointment an "insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate, and the American people."

"Clearly, President Trump wants people who will swear allegiance to him over the Constitution," he said.

Tata’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee was canceled Thursday, less than an hour before it was set to begin. 

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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (R-Okla.) said at the time that the hearing was canceled because “many” Democrats and Republicans “didn’t know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a very significant position at this time.”

'We didn’t get the required documentation in time; some documents, which we normally get before a hearing, didn’t arrive until yesterday," Inhofe said in a statement released shortly before the hearing was scheduled to start. "As I told the president last night, we’re simply out of time with the August recess coming, so it wouldn’t serve any useful purpose to have a hearing at this point, and he agreed."

In a separate statement last week, Reed said both parties had “serious questions” about Tata. 

"It’s fair to say members on both sides of the aisle have raised serious questions about this nominee," Reed said. "We had a closed door session on Tuesday, and today’s public hearing has now been cancelled. Chairman Inhofe did the right thing here, and it’s clear this nomination isn’t going anywhere without a full, fair, open hearing."

A spokesperson for Inhofe was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.

--Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated on Aug. 3 at 6:51 a.m.