Sexual assault allegations dominate Hyten confirmation hearing

(NBC News) Allegations of sexual assault allegations dominated a hearing Tuesday for President Trump’s choice to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s second most powerful military officer.

Air Force General John Hyten denied the allegations as his accuser sat facing him inside the hearing room.

“I want to state to you and to the American people in the strongest possible terms that these allegations are false,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Army Colonel Kathryn Spletstoser, Hyten’s former aide, has accused him of several incidences of sexual assault in 2017.

“The bottom line is he lied about sexually assaulting me,” Spletstoser said to reporters outside of the hearing.

A lengthy Air Force investigation found insufficient evidence to charge General Hyten. Those same investigators also found no evidence Spletstoser was lying.

Senator Martha McSally, a former fighter pilot and sexual assault survivor, says she supports the general.

“The truth is that General Hyten is innocent of these charges. Sexual assault happens in the military. It just didn’t happen in this case,” McSally said.

The committee could vote on Hyten’s nomination by the end of the week.

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