White House Says Tillerson Is 'Here,' For Now

Adjust Comment Print

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. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, to replace Pompeo at the Central Intelligence Agency. It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Trump has given final approval to the plan, but he has been said to have soured on Mr. Tillerson and in general is ready to make a change at the State Department.

Perhaps more damaging for his internal prospects, though, was a report in October that Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" at one point in the summer - a report Tillerson has conspicuously never denied. The president was here today with the secretary of state. The report said that Republican Arkansas Sen.

Both CNN and Bloomberg subsequently reported that the White House is weighing replacing Tillerson with Pompeo.

If he becomes US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo would have three assets Rex Tillerson did not: experience in government, the confidence of President Donald Trump, and a defter touch with Congress and the bureaucracy. "Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the State Department".

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.

However Mr Pompeo, a former three-term member of Congress, has increasingly moved to the forefront as he has gained Mr Trump's trust on national security matters. On several occasions, the president publicly undercut his diplomatic initiatives. "I don't know who that is".

"He remains secretary of State", she added. Too much churn could fuel the perception of chaos in the Trump White House - perhaps one reason he has yet to pull the trigger.

Pompeo, 53, has taken tough foreign policy stands, especially on Iran, and talked about how his agency is becoming more aggressive and how he has been focusing on deploying more CIA officers overseas. Cotton's first-term as a U.S. Senator runs through 2020.

Pompeo also has downplayed the extent of Russia's intervention, saying Moscow has sought to influence USA elections for decades. He's been a supporter of President Trump.

Tillerson answered that "the president speaks for himself".

Now, CBS News has confirmed the White House has a plan to force Tillerson out. Tillerson's advice to Trump to stay in the Paris climate deal and certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal was similarly overruled.

Tillerson has taken a more hawkish view than Trump on Russian Federation and tried to mediate a dispute after four Arab nations launched a boycott of Qatar.

Days before that, Mr Trump had appeared to undermine Mr Tillerson, saying that...

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Kelly told Tillerson's chief of staff on Thursday the reports on Tillerson being replaced were not true.