- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs (all times local):

9:35 p.m.

Veterans Affairs nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson spent a late night at the White House huddled with top press aides.

The president’s personal physician on Wednesday spent about 45 minutes meeting with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy Raj Shah and others as allegations surface that threaten to sink his nomination. Sanders said the group had been discussing Jackson’s meetings on Capitol Hill.

Senate Democrats released a summary of accusations that included claims he recklessly prescribed drugs.

Shah said on CNN earlier that White House aides are “of course” preparing for the possibility that Jackson may decide to withdraw his nomination.

But Jackson appeared in good spirits as he left the meeting, telling reporters he looks “forward to talking to you guys over the next couple of days.”


4:55 p.m.

Embattled Veterans Affairs nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson is denying allegations he was involved in a drunken car wreck.

Jackson tells reporters at the White House he “never wrecked a car.” He adds, “I have no idea where that is coming from.” He says he’s moving forward with his nomination.

The VA nominee is responding after Senate Democrats released a summary of allegations against Jackson that includes claims he recklessly prescribed drugs, had his own private stock of controlled substances and got drunk and crashed a government car.

The White House has rallied behind Jackson, pointing to his past work as a physician to Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama.


4:45 p.m.

A summary of allegations against President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs says he recklessly prescribed drugs, had his own private stock of controlled substances and got drunk and crashed a government car.

The summary was released by Democrats as the White House rallied behind Dr. Ronny Jackson.

Based on conversations with 23 of Jackson’s colleagues and former colleagues, the review says Jackson was nicknamed “Candyman” by White House staff because he would provide prescriptions without paperwork. Drugs he prescribed included Ambien, used for sleep, and Provigil, used to help wake up.

The colleagues and former colleagues also told congressional staffers that there were multiple incidents of drunkenness on duty and said Jackson got drunk at a Secret Service going-away party and wrecked a government car.

Jackson says he “never wrecked a car.”


3:10 p.m.

The chairman of a Senate panel reviewing President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs says the nominee will get a hearing to address complaints made against him of “unprofessional behaviors.”

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson says White House physician Ronny Jackson “deserves a hearing and he’s going to get it.”

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee indefinitely postponed Jackson’s confirmation hearing, which had been scheduled for Wednesday. It cited a need for more time to investigate complaints made by current and former employees of Jackson about his fitness to be VA secretary.

With Congress set to recess Friday for a week, the earliest a hearing could be held would be in about 10 days.

Jackson denies allegations of bad behavior and says he’s looking forward to “answering everybody’s questions.”


2:35 p.m.

The White House is defending Veterans Affairs nominee Ronny Jackson, insisting the longtime White House doctor has been more thoroughly vetted than most nominees.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that, “Dr. Jackson’s record as a White House physician has been impeccable.”

And she says he’s received more vetting than most nominees due to his close proximity to the last three presidents.

Still, Sanders says the White House is, “continuing to look at the situation.”

Jackson is fighting to salvage his imperiled nomination amid accusations that include repeated drunkenness and creating a “toxic” work environment at the White House.

President Donald Trump has suggested publicly that Jackson may want to withdraw, citing what Trump calls unfair scrutiny.


12:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is sending mixed signals about the future of his nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Trump suggested during a news conference Tuesday that White House physician Ronny Jackson may want to withdraw amid questions about his professional and personal behavior. In private, the president is said to be urging Jackson to keep fighting for confirmation.

Jackson has given no indication that he will take himself out of consideration for the VA job.

A watchdog report requested in 2012 and reviewed by The Associated Press found that Jackson and a rival physician exhibited “unprofessional behaviors” as they engaged in a power struggle over the White House medical unit.

A Senate committee has revealed separate allegations of improper prescribing of drugs and the use of alcohol.

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