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Shanahan Steps Down as Acting Defense Secretary After Reports of FBI Investigation

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President Donald Trump‘s pick to run the Pentagon has taken himself out of the running following media reports that he was under FBI investigation over a nine-year-old domestic dispute.

Patrick Shanahan, the former Boeing executive Trump planned to nominate to replace Jim Mattis as defense secretary, “decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

The announcement follows a report from USA Today that the FBI was looking into a violent domestic dispute between Shanahan and his former wife during which both claimed they’d been punched by the other. While Shanahan said he “never laid a hand” on then-wife Kimberly Jordinson, according to the paper, she said she stands by her account.

Shanahan was likely to face questions from lawmakers about the incident during his Senate confirmation hearing.

Army Secretary Mark Esper will step into the acting defense secretary role, Trump tweeted.

“I thank Pat for his outstanding service and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense,” the president wrote. “I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!”

Army officials said they had no immediate comment on the announcement.

This story is developing and will be updated.

— Matthew Cox contributed to this report.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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