Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s right-hand man is leaving his post amid growing tensions with Iran. NBC News’s Hallie Jackson reported Monday that Eric Chewning resigned as Pentagon chief of staff and will leave the Department of Defense at the end of the month. Chewning had served as chief of staff to both Esper and his predecessor, acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan.
Trump, for his part, has tweeted abundantly as the situation grows increasingly volatile, saying that the military has targeted 52 Iranian sites, including some that are important to “Iranian culture,” for possible counterattacks. He also issued a bizarre declaration Sunday that his “media posts” would “serve as notification to the United States Congress” that should Iran attack the U.S., America “will quickly and fully strike back, and perhaps in a disproportionate manner.”
University of Alabama law professor Joyce Alene noted that “reporting” around Chewning’s departure “says he’s ready to go back to private sector and not to read too much into this.”
“But,” she noted, “the timing is still quite interesting. I’d want out of that chain of command before an illegal order was given.”