The US Navy secretary, Richard Spencer, has been sacked over his intervention in the case of a Navy Seal who posed next to the corpse of a member of the Islamic State in Iraq.
Mr Spencer was instructed to quit by Mark Esper, the US defence secretary.
The dismissal of Mr Spencer is the latest twist in the controversy surrounding Eddie Gallagher, who was cleared of murder, but demoted for having his picture taken next to the corpse.
However the demotion and the decision to strip him of his prestigious Trident insignia was overruled by Donald Trump.
It was one of three cases taken up by the US president, who also pardoned two other servicemen who were facing war crimes allegations.
Mr Trump’s intervention is understood to have upset the Pentagon, with senior figures warning that the move would undermine military discipline.
It had been reported that Mr Spencer threatened to resign over the president’s decision to prevent the disciplinary hearing taking place.
Although Mr Spencer denied that he had threatened to quit, he made clear that he believed that military discipline should be enforced.
"I believe the process matters for good order and discipline," Mr Spencer told Reuters over the weekend.
The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!
Click Here: cheap INTERNATIONAL jersey— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
However it emerged that Mr Spencer privately proposed a deal to the White House, which would have allowed Gallagher to retire with his status as a Seal intact.
It also emerged that Mr Esper had not been told of the proposals advanced by his Navy secretary shortly before the US president tweeted an attack on the Navy for its handling of the case.
“The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” Trump wrote. “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”
Announcing his decision to ask for Mr Spencer’s resignation, Mr Esper said he was “deeply troubled by this conduct.”
“Unfortunately, as a result I have determined that secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position," Mr Esper said. "I wish Richard well.”