President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Pentagon told Congress on Thursday says he can lead the military as a civilian, even after a 44-year military career. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Pentagon told Congress on Thursday the United States must be ready to confront Russian behavior in areas where the two countries cannot cooperate, even as he backed Trump's bid to engage with Moscow. The remarks by retired Marine General James Mattis are likely to set the tone for a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing. Mattis, who retired from the military in 2013, is technically ineligible for the job since he has not been a civilian for at least seven years. That means Congress would need to grant him a waiver, something it has not done since 1950, but appears inclined to do now. In his opening statement, Mattis said he can lead the military as a civilian, even after a 44-year military career. "I recognize my potential civilian role differs in essence and in substance from my former role in uniform," Mattis said.