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Vox Sentences: There’s no shushing David Shulkin

VA Secretary David Shulkin torches the Trump administration on his way out; former French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a corruption trial.

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VA Secretary David Shulkin torches the Trump administration on his way out; former French President Nicolas Sarkozy faces a corruption trial.

Former VA Secretary David Shulkin has a lot to say about why he was fired

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is speaking out against the White House after President Donald Trump fired him via Twitter. [Vox / Matthew Yglesias]
  • After he became the latest member of the administration to be let go, Shulkin wrote an op-ed in the New York Times suggesting that there are people in Trump’s administration who want to privatize the VA and that those people had a hand in encouraging his firing. [NYT / David Shulkin]
  • If there are discussions to privatize the VA like Shulkin says, it could have huge implications for America’s vets. The VA is a huge department — the second largest in the federal government — with more than 100 hospitals around the country. Many people want reforms in the department, but a lot of veterans groups are pushing back on attempts to privatize it. [Atlantic / James Hamblin​]
  • Trump announced via tweet Wednesday that he was nominating his doctor, Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, to replace Shulkin in the VA. (Jackson also served as President Barack Obama’s doctor in the previous administration.) [NPR / Laurel Wamsley and Scott Neuman]
  • Jackson is seen as a bipartisan pick (he’s been praised by former Obama administration officials), and he made news earlier this year with Trump’s physical exam — presenting a glowing picture of the president’s physical and mental health. He’ll likely face questions about his management experience; running the VA would be by far the biggest job he’s taken on. [Washington Post / Aaron Blake]
  • Shulkin was one of the many administration officials scrutinized over their use of taxpayer money. The former VA secretary faced allegations he had spent more than $120,000 in taxpayer money on a 10-day trip to Europe that involved only three days of official meetings. [Quartz / Max de Haldevang]
  • Shulkin told NPR in an interview that the Trump White House did not allow him to respond to allegations about the trip, which he maintained was “proper.” He went further, saying he believed he was barred from responding about the trip to weaken his status. [NPR / Laurel Wamsley and Scott Neuman]

French judges want Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial

  • Things are not looking great for former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. On Thursday, France’s highest court ordered Sarkozy to stand trial in a corruption and influence peddling case against him. [Washington Post / James McAuley]
  • Specifically, the former president is facing charges that he tried to bribe a judge looking into whether Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign had illegal funding from none other than Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who died in 2011. [Guardian / Kim Willsher]
  • Sarkozy has denounced the allegations against him, and his attorneys have said they will appeal the decision to have him stand trial. [France24]
  • If he’s convicted, Sarkozy could end up having to pay a lot of money. In France, a conviction for active corruption can result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 1 million euros (about $1.2 million). Influence peddling can result in even more fines and prison time. [NYT / Aurelien Breeden]


  • How a New Yorker food critic trying to dry out a chicken with a very expensive blow dryer went from tweet to full-blown (get it?) internet sensation. [The Verge / Lizzie Plaugic]
  • Adnan Syed (of Serial fame) will get a new trial, according to a decision from a Maryland judge. [Baltimore Sun / Justin Fenton and Kevin Rector]
  • After conservative Fox News host Laura Ingraham unleashed a personal attack on Parkland student activist David Hogg, advertisers started dropping her show. (She later apologized.) [Politico / Cristiano Lima]
  • There are entire floating villages on the Mekong River in Cambodia, home to members of a Vietnamese minority who don’t really have a country to call their own. [NYT / Ben Mauk]


“You’ve come to the right place. We’ve had more girls come through here than Bed Bath & Beyond.” [Nashville “party barge” captain Todd, on the city’s new brand of tourism: bachelorette parties, to BuzzFeed / Anne Helen Petersen]

Watch this: US voting machines are failing. Here’s why.

The greatest threat to American voting machines might not be hacking, but old age. [YouTube / Mac Schneider and Kate Rabinowitz]

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