Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to step down

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US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden listen as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a press conference to announce Hagel's departure at the White House on November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Hagel will remain at his post until a successor is named. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to step down

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US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden listen as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a press conference to announce Hagel's departure at the White House on November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Hagel will remain at his post until a successor is named. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support Tuesday for the nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, delivering a key vote for the Nebraska Republican’s confirmation after weeks of voicing doubt about his positions on security issues related to Israel and Iran.

Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat and most senior Jewish senator, made the decision following a 90-minute meeting Monday in the West Wing, a secretive huddle that Schumer and White House officials kept under wraps until the decision to announce his support today.