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Fired VA head Shulkin says political appointees were focused on privatization

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The former Veterans Affair secretary said he is willing to provide any assistance he can to Jackson, his replacement, but said Jackson will need a solid team to surround him if he wants to succeed.

“I don’t think anybody is necessarily prepared for a job this big,” he told “Morning Joe.”

The removal of Shulkin comes amid a spate of firings or other dismissals in the Trump administration, including the departures of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Shulkin was confirmed by the Senate in 2017 by a vote of 100-0.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars in a statement on Thursday praised Shulkin and was critical of Trump’s choice to replace him with Jackson.

“Dr. Jackson’s bio does not reflect any experience working with the VA or with veterans, or managing any organization of size, much less one as multifaceted as the Department of Veterans Affairs, so the VFW will be closely monitoring his Senate confirmation process,” the veterans group said.

But the VFW noted that Jackson served in Iraq as an emergency physician and recognized his service.

“We look forward to working with him and his staff to continue building upon the progress created by his predecessors, progress that properly takes care of America’s wounded, ill and injured veterans first,” VFW National Commander Keith Harman said.

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EU civil war: Denmark backs Washington in submarine row with France and Brussels

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DENMARK has lashed out at the European Union for siding with France in the diplomatic spat over its failed submarine contract with Australia.

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Biden, Macron to speak by phone following submarine fallout

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden was expected to speak Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron as the U.S. looks to stem the fallout from France’s fury over a deal to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, according to a French official.

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said Macron expected “clarifications and clear commitments” from Biden on the call, which he said was requested by the White House.

“We expect of our allies that the exchanges and consultations that should have been conducted did not happen, and that raises the question of confidence,” Attal said Wednesday. “Therefore it falls on all of us from now on to bear together the consequences.”

The diplomatic spat between the U.S., and France erupted last week over a deal the Biden administration announced with Australia to provide that country with nuclear-powered submarines as part of a wider security pact that also included the U.K. But the French had been expecting to be the ones to sell submarines to Australia under a 2016 contract.

French officials said they were blindsided by the announcement, which cost them a $66 billion agreement. In response, France recalled their ambassadors from the United States and Australia and canceled a gala at their embassy in Washington.

The White House declined to comment on the call, but press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that officials from both countries were working to schedule one.

Nancy Ing contributed.

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'Not giving up sovereignty!' UK lays down gauntlet to EU ahead of Gibraltar Brexit talks

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SOVEREIGNTY of Gibraltar is not up for negotiation in Brexit trade talks with the EU, ministers have vowed.

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