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Pentagon confirms White House was behind push to hide USS John McCain from Trump

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The acting Pentagon chief confirmed Sunday that the White House had requested the hiding of a warship bearing the name of late Senator John McCain during a visit by Donald Trump to Japan.

In Washington, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the request probably was made by somebody on the president’s advance team but no one would be fired for it.

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US media reported that efforts were made to obscure the USS John S. McCain’s name during Trump’s visit to an American military facility last week, accusations denied by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and the president.

But Shanahan said Sunday that the president’s staff had contacted the Japan-based 7th Fleet of the US Navy and given “the directive that the USS John S McCain should be hidden from view”.

“That directive was not carried out,” Shanahan told media while flying to Seoul for the third leg of his week-long tour of Asia.

Shanahan said he commissioned an investigation led by the Pentagon chief of staff upon learning of the incident.

“There is no room for politicising the military,” he added. “I’ll deal with this in an appropriate manner.”

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Shanahan’s spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Buccino, said the Pentagon had already lodged a protest at a White House meeting on Friday.

“Secretary Shanahan directed his chief of staff to speak with the White House military office and reaffirm its mandate that the (Pentagon) will not be politicised,” Buccino said.

Mulvaney, in comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” acknowledged the request was probably made by someone on the White House advance team but said it was “not an unreasonable thing to ask.”

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“Is someone going to get fired for this? No,” he said.

– McCain feud –

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Trump had a combative political relationship with McCain, who died last August and was taken prisoner and tortured during the Vietnam war.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story, Shanahan was aware of concern about the ship’s name and “approved measures to ensure it didn’t interfere with the president’s visit.”

Those measures included hanging a tarpaulin over the ship’s name, the Journal said. The tarpaulin was removed before Trump arrived, but a barge was moved closer to the ship, blocking the view of its name.

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Crew serving aboard the 154-metre (505-foot) vessel, whose uniforms bear the ship’s name, were prevented from attending a speech Trump delivered from a neighbouring ship, media reports said.

Shanahan denied any involvement when asked by reporters on Thursday.

Trump insisted the same day that he would not have ordered hiding the vessel from view during his visit, and said he “couldn’t care less” whether a Navy destroyer bore the name of his late rival.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Inside Purdue Pharma’s media playbook: How it planted the opioid ‘anti-story’

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OxyContin’s makers delayed the reckoning for their role in the opioid crisis by funding think tanks, placing friendly experts on leading outlets, and deterring or challenging negative coverage.

In 2004, Purdue Pharma was facing a threat to sales of its blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, which were approaching $2 billion a year. With abuse of the drug on the rise, prosecutors were bringing criminal charges against some doctors for prescribing massive amounts of OxyContin.

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About 58 percent of Americans are following the hearings very closely or somewhat closely, and 60 percent of those people believe Trump should be impeached and removed from office, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Nearly one in three Americans have already made up their minds on impeachment, but about 30 percent say they could be swayed by new revelations about Trump's scheme to pressure Ukraine into announcing an investigation of Joe Biden.

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Trump rails against another woman impeachment witness

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President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that Jennifer Williams, a special adviser on Europe and Russia issues for Vice President Mike Pence's foreign policy team, was a “Never Trumper” after her deposition in the impeachment inquiry was revealed to have characterized the commander-in-chief’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “unusual and inappropriate.”

“Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement [sic] from Ukraine,” Trump tweeted. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”

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