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Ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told CBS News Monday that President Trump’s intervention in a case involving disgraced Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sends the message "that you can get away with things."

Details: In his first TV interview since he was fired Sunday for his handling of Gallagher's case, Spencer told CBS journalist David Martin that Trump shouldn't have tried to stop the Pentagon review of the Navy SEAL's case and that he doesn't think he "really understands the full definition of a war fighter."

  • "A war fighter is a profession of arms, and a profession of arms has standards that they have to be held to, and they hold themselves to," Spencer said.

He also defended his conduct as Navy secretary.

SPENCER: Well, what do I stand for as secretary of the Navy? Good order and discipline of the United States Navy. That's a prime tenet. This, in fact, erodes that. 
MARTIN: What's wrong with following a lawful order from the commander in chief? 
SPENCER: Nothing. Everyone should follow a lawful order. That's good order and discipline. I could not in my conscience do this. 

The big picture: Gallagher was acquitted of a murder charge in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive, but a military jury convicted him of posing with the corpse while in Iraq in 2017. Spencer was advocating for a peer-to-peer review process that could have stripped Gallagher of his Trident Pin, which designates him as a Navy SEAL.

  • Trump tweeted Thursday: "The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper said during a press conference earlier Monday that the president ordered him to allow Gallagher to retire with his Trident. This allows the chief petty officer to retire as a SEAL instead of being expelled from the elite unit.

Go deeper:

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Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.