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McCain puts Trump’s deputy defense secretary pick on notice in hearing

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) could be the biggest roadblock for the confirmation of Patrick Shanahan, President Donald Trump’s pick for deputy secretary of defense.

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, McCain chastised Shanahan when the latter originally said he would have to consider arming the Ukrainians to battle Russia, but then changed his answer when pressed by McCain.

“Not a good beginning. Not a good beginning,” McCain said, enunciating each word. “Do not do that again, Mr. Shanahan, or I will not take your name up for a vote before this committee. Am I perfectly clear?”

Shanahan, the senior vice president of Boeing’s supply and chain operations branch, responded, “Very clear.”

“That’s not good enough, Mr. Shanahan,” McCain, the committee’s chair, said. “I’m glad to hear you changed your opinion from what was submitted, but it’s still disturbing to me.”

The senator then laid into Shanahan a bit and questioned if the Boeing executive had kept up with what had happened in the committee.

“It’s still disturbing to me after all these years that you would say you have to look at the issue,” McCain said. “Have you not been aware of the issue? Have you not been aware of the actions of the Senate Armed Services Committee?

“Have you not been aware of the thousands of people that have been killed by [Russian President] Vladimir Putin? Have you missed all that in your duties at one of the major defense corporations of this country?”

Shanahan sheepishly responded, “No, chairman, I’m aware of that.”

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