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Acting U.S. defense chief scraps Europe trip to focus on Venezuela

FILE PHOTO: Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speak to the media at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has cancelled a planned trip to Europe on Wednesday to help him better coordinate with the Trump administration on Venezuela as well as on deployments to the U.S. border with Mexico, the Pentagon said.

The announcement came as the White House National Security Council scheduled a meeting for Wednesday afternoon to discuss next steps on the political turmoil in Venezuela.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; additional reporting by Doina Chiacu