Trump Makes First Move In Expected Housecleaning, Fires Defense Chief Mark Esper

President Trump on Monday made his first move to clean house after the election and more heads will most certainly roll soon.

Trump just announced he had fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. “I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately,” he said.

He added, “Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”

From Axios:

Why it matters: Trump has clashed with Esper over a number of issues since the summer, and he was expected to be one of the first Cabinet secretaries to be removed after the election.

The Pentagon chief lost Trump’s favor after he rebuffed the idea of sending active-duty military to deal with racial justice protests over the summer, and distanced himself from the clearing of Lafayette Square protesters for a photo op at St. John’s church.

The change is effective immediately. Miller previously oversaw special operations forces in counterterrorism.

The big picture: Other Cabinet officials expected to be fired by Trump in the lame-duck session include CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Trump has also teased the idea of firing Anthony Fauci, but he could not do so directly because Fauci is not a political appointee.

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