Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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(CNN) – President Barack Obama announced Monday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will step down from his position as soon as the Senate confirms a successor.
Hagel was pushed out - effectively fired - sources tell CNN. The Pentagon flatly denies that was the case.
"This was a mutual agreement that he and the President came to after a series of discussions that began as far back as late October," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
"Both men agreed that a change in leadership at the Pentagon was probably appropriate right now," he said.
For more of our interview with the Pentagon's Rear Adm. John Kirby, check out the video above.