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Trump may replace Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo

01 December, 2017, 05:41 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a media opportunity with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj at the State Department in Washington Friday Dec. 1 2017. Tillerson is dismissing as

Tillerson's future came up in the Oval Office earlier this month at a meeting in which White House officials closest to the president agreed the Texan should go - and soon - said one individual who consults regularly with the administration. The report noted that it's unclear whether President Trump has signed off on the plan yet.

But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't deny it. "Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the State Department".

Tillerson would be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, known as a Trump loyalist and foreign policy hard-liner, within weeks under a White House plan to carry out the most significant staff shake-up so far of the Trump administration. Democratic Party of Arkansas spokesman Graham Senor says, "There's a long line of people who have expressed interested in running against Senator Cotton in 2020, so we expect that a U.S. Senate election in 2018 would see many people throw their hats in the ring".

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly developed the transition plan and has discussed it with other officials, the Times reported.

But others argued that any new secretary of state would face the same obstacles as Tillerson, who was undercut this year when Trump told his chief diplomat to stop "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korea. In October, Tillerson shot down a report that said he had been on the verge of resigning from his Cabinet position over the summer.

Days before that, Mr Trump had appeared to undermine Mr Tillerson, saying that... Too much churn could fuel the perception of chaos in the Trump White House - perhaps one reason he has yet to pull the trigger.




Mr. Tillerson's departure has been widely anticipated for months, but associates have said he was intent on finishing out the year to retain whatever dignity he could. Still, Tillerson aides say he expects to remain in his role to see the overhaul through.

As CIA director, Pompeo has been particularly outspoken against North Korea and has concentrated agency resources to track the nuclear threat.

When Tillerson was tapped for the job late previous year, many Trump critics expressed quiet relief that he'd picked a sober "adult" who could form a counterweight to the president's brasher, impulsive approach, especially on critical matters of war and peace.

Tensions have also run high between Tillerson and veteran diplomats who oppose his proposed staff and budget cuts and in some cases have privately accused him of hollowing out the State Department.

Tillerson answered that "the president speaks for himself".

Tillerson has taken a more hawkish view than Trump on Russian Federation and tried to mediate a dispute among key U.S. Mideast allies, after four Arab nations launched a boycott of Qatar, alleging Islamist extremist ties.

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