Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

Veterans Affairs deputy secretary James Byrne was fired Monday morning, three Trump administration officials tell Axios. The White House confirmed that Byrne is no longer with the administration.

Why it matters: The VA has recently been in inner turmoil. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said he dismissed Byrne "due to loss of confidence in Mr. Byrne’s ability to carry out his duties." Wilkie said the decision "is effective immediately," following Axios' reporting.

Between the lines: The VA has come under fire after a House staff member said she was sexually assaulted at the VA hospital in Washington. The White House was disappointed by the way Wilkie and the VA handled the situation, according to three sources close to the situation.

  • Facing pressure from the White House, Wilkie asked for Byrne's resignation Monday morning, according to the sources.
  • VA press secretary Christina Mandreucci denied that Byrne's dismissal was related to the sexual assault investigation, but did not elaborate further.

The backdrop: The staff member's complaint of sexual assault was investigated by the agency's Office of Inspector General, but no charges were brought.

  • In a letter to the House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Mark Takano (D-Calif.) last month, Wilkie called the staffer's claims of sexual assault "unsubstantiated" and defended the VA as a "safe place for all veterans."
  • The agency IG Michael Missal then pushed back in a letter to Wilkie, saying he had thoroughly briefed Wilkie and Byrne on the decision: "Reaching a decision to close the investigation with no criminal charges does not mean that the underlying allegation is unsubstantiated," he said.

Byrne was confirmed by the Senate to the position in September with a vote of 81 to 11.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Report: Goldman to settle DOJ probe into Malaysia's 1MDB for over $2B

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Goldman Sachs has agreed with the Department of Justice to pay over $2 billion for the bank's role in Malaysia's multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: The settlement, expected to be announced within days, would allow Goldman Sachs to avoid a criminal conviction in the U.S. over the bribery and money laundering scandal that saw three of its former bankers banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Reserve Board.

Trump threatens to post "60 Minutes" interview early after reportedly walking out

Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One, Oct. 19. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering posting his interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" prior to airtime in order to show "what a FAKE and BIASED interview" it was, following reports that he abruptly ended the interview after 45 minutes of taping.

Why it matters: Trump has escalated his war on the media in the final stretch of his re-election campaign, calling a Reuters reporter a "criminal" this week for not reporting on corruption allegations about Hunter Biden and disparaging CNN as "dumb b*stards" for the network's ongoing coronavirus coverage.