Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Trump ousts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replaces him with Mike Pompeo

Incoming CIA director Gina Haspel delivers remarks at the 2017 William J. Donovan Award Dinner in Washington DC Trump ousts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replaces him with Mike Pompeo
Patty Aguilar | 13 March, 2018, 18:30

The White House announced Tuesday morning the President's decision to replace Rex Tillerson with Pompeo as secretary of state, as well as the move to nominate Gina Haspel as Central Intelligence Agency director.

Thanking Mr Tillerson for his service on Twitter, Mr Trump said the new state secretary would do "a fantastic job". It spiked again in November when White House officials told multiple news outlets of a plan to replace him with Pompeo.

When did Rex Tillerson know? 'If confirmed, I look forward to providing President Trump the outstanding intelligence support he has grown to expect during his first year in office'. Iran agreed before Trump took office to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. "So we were not thinking the same". She was the fourth person to hold the post since Trump became president.

When asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" if Tillerson would be leading the diplomatic talks between the USA and North Korea, Pompeo said such discussions would take a "team" effort.

Hope Hicks The White House communications director, one of Trump's longest-serving and most trusted aides, resigned on February 28. Tillerson had long pushed Trump to remain in the agreement and had been pursuing a delicate strategy with European allies and others to try to improve or augment it to Trump's liking. When Trump ultimately accepted Kim's invitation for a meeting, Tillerson was in Ethiopia, though he said he spoke with Trump about it shortly before it was announced.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Pompeo also would take over a State Department shaken by the departures of many senior diplomats and embittered by proposed budget cuts. "I actually got along with Rex but really it was a different mindset".

Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump's announcement.

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They have offered to talk directly to the United States about a possible peace agreement. Reconciliation, Mattis said, was "almost an equal priority of my interest going in".

The circumstances behind the firing were unclear.

When the White House stopped short of directly blaming Moscow for the high-profile nerve agent attack on an ex-spy in the United Kingdom, Tillerson pulled no punches.

The state department then released an extraordinary statement saying, "The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason (he was fired), but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling". Trump wrote in his tweet.

As he headed home on Monday, Tillerson was also sharply critical of Moscow's purported role in the poisoning of a former Russian spy in London, and warned that it would nearly certainly "trigger a response". A CIA spokesman said when asked about the issue previous year that Pompeo's decision was aimed at stopping the "dangerous leaks and insider threats" that he saw emanating from the agency when he was a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

The official said Mr Trump works well with Mr Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, and wanted him in place before the president's planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and trade negotiations.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity.

The former Exxon chief had been an unlikely pick for top diplomat, with no formal experience but a lifetime's worth of personal relationships with heads of state and powerful global figures, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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