Shanahan pulls out of Pentagon job as reports emerge of family violence

Trump says Patrick Shanahan is out as acting Defense secretary

But the decision, which Trump said owed to Shanahan's desire to spend more time with his family, promises to prolong what has already been the longest period without a confirmed secretary of defence.

Esper has been Trump's Army secretary since November 2017, joining the Pentagon after spending several years at Raytheon, a defense contractor for which he was most recently vice president of government relations.

Earlier on Tuesday, USA Today reported the FBI was investigating a 2010 incident in which Mr Shanahan and his ex-wife accused each other of assault. He also worked as a senior policy adviser and legislative director for Senator Chuck Hagel, policy director for the House Armed Services Committee, and, from 2002 to 2004, deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy for the George W. Bush administration.

When asked for comment by USA Today, the White House referred questions to the Pentagon.

Mattis had offered to stay on until the end of February, but on December 23, Trump fired Mattis and replaced him with Shanahan, who would be acting secretary until such a time when he could be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

This news comes over a month after Trump announced that Shanahan would head up the Pentagon. Shanahan and his then-wife, who now uses the name Kimberley Jordinson, accused each other of violent aggression. A subsequent piece (including interviews with Shanahan) at The Washington Post reported past abuse by his then-wife involving his children, including an incident where she beat her son and tried to set his clothes on fire, and a separate incident in 2011 where his son cracked her skull with a baseball bat.

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"Bad things can happen to good families. and this is a tragedy, really", Shanahan was quoted telling the Washington Post this week.

The incident was first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, shortly after Mr. Trump announced Shanahan was withdrawing from consideration. Shanahan had a black eye and a bloody nose, according to the police report obtained by USA Today.

President Trump has named Army Secretary Mark Esper as his replacement.

Shanahan said later on Tuesday that he was stepping down to avoid a "painful" family situation that would hurt his children and reopen "wounds we have worked years to heal". "Ultimately, their safety and well-being is my highest priority".

On Monday, the U.S. military released new images it said showed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) removing an unexploded mine from a Japanese-owned tanker following the suspected attacks.

Yahoo News reported Monday that Shanahan's official nomination had been delayed over the FBI investigation into his personal life, including a messy divorce that involved an accusation of domestic violence from his ex-wife, who was arrested as part of the dispute. In more than four months as the acting secretary, he focused on implementing the national defense strategy that was developed during Mattis' tenure and emphasizes a shift from the resources and tactics required to fight small wars against extremist groups to what Shanahan calls "great power" competition with China and Russian Federation.

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