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Trump’s Defense Department purge is deeply dangerous to our national security—first firing SecDef Esper by tweet & now promoting a known racist Islamophobe.

Trump Fires Defense Sec'y Mark Esper in a tweet: I've mixed feelings about Esper--too beholden to Pompeo, not a heavyweight--but he took being SecDef seriously and tried to keep the military from being politicized. A worrisome sign for Trump's final days.

Recently fired SecDef Esper, to the Military Times, on the importance of picking his battles in Trump admin: "I could live with that — why? Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.”

Esper was doomed as SecDef from day 1. While we had our differences, I struggle to see how firing the Secretary of Defense without a successor serves our national security. This is a terrible message to send our allies & adversaries alike.

Former SecDef Esper says he wasn't into the "dear leader" stuff when he was in charge at Pentagon, telling Military Times: "Have you seen me on a stage saying, ‘Under the exceptional leadership of blah-blah-blah, we have blah-blah-blah-blah?’"

Our coverage of ⁦@EsperDoD⁩’s firing, arrival of Christopher Miller as acting SecDef. Miller is seen as a Trump loyalist, and Esper warns in embargoed interview of a “real yes man. God help us.” W/ @LisaDNews ⁩ @Yamiche ⁩ on transition.

ICYMI: SecDef Esper announced the updated Battle Force 2045 shipbuilding plan with the goal to have over 500 manned and unmanned ships in the fleet by 2045. Of that, Esper says the plan is to reach 355 traditional Battle Force ships by 2035. More:

@Sec Wilkie as SecDef? He has shown interest in the job in the past. Now @NBCNews  is reporting that Trump has broached the idea of firing Esper and moving Wilkie over.


Most relevant

This is pretty incredible: SecDef Mark Esper says that it is “still unclear” to him who ordered Lafayette Park cleared off anti-racism protesters. Esper adds that he has “never inquired” about the origins of that order, which has been widely criticized as a flagrant mistake.

NEW: A Pentagon memo obtained by @TaskandPurpose  states that the military should plan on operating without a COVID-19 vaccine until "at least the summer of 2021" This contradicts the "by the end of this year" timeline laid out by SecDef Esper on Friday

Final point: I think it's highly significant that Joint Chiefs chair Milley has now apologized for the walk through the area cleared of protesters. Milley and SecDef Esper likely came to realize just how badly they'd been corrupted by the president.

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fear this oped is part of Cotton campaign to have Trump fire Esper, make Cotton acting secdef, and have Cotton impose martial law

SecDef Esper agrees: Bombing Iranian cultural sites would be contrary to the laws of war (aka a war crime). Esper must disobey all unlawful orders from Trump or he will also be responsible.

New: SecDef Esper says Trump ordered him to allow Eddie Gallagher to remain a SEAL. “He wanted Eddie Gallagher’s (trident) pin restored and I said roger, I got it,” Esper said.

NEW: SECDEF Esper admits "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees" as a result of Turkey's military incursion in northern Syria.

McConnell spox says Senate Majority Leader has spoken to SecDef Esper about saving Middle School project at Fort Campbell: "Senator McConnell recently talked to Secretary Esper regarding the issue and is committed to protecting funding for the Ft. Campbell Middle School project"

Senate Republicans have privately told WH that they don't have time on calendar/political capital for a difficult SecDef confirmation fight this summer/fall. So, for now, Army Sec. Mark Esper will take over as acting, as WH/GOP consider next steps.