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Senators divided on Trump's fired secretary of state

14 March 2018

"As a former soldier and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Pompeo tweeted the following on July 16, 2016 (the day after Turkey's military coup attempt) in response to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's message of solidarity: ".@JZarif & #Iran govt about as democratic as that of @RT_Erdogan - both are totalitarian Islamist dictatorships". Fox anchors, along with Trump International and adviser accounts, represent the bulk of the accounts the president follows on Twitter.

The outgoing chief diplomat emphasized that his department "exceeded the expectations of nearly everyone" with its "maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea and its quest for removing nuclear weapons from the region.

Combine Rex Tillerson's net worth with that of other Trump administration appointees such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (net worth estimated between $1 billion and $5 billion) and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (net worth: $700 million to $2.9 billion), and the collective wealth of Trump's cabinet was once estimated as high as $14.5 billion.

Tillerson expressed gratitude to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and members of the USA military who he says all agree that USA leadership starts with diplomacy. He also pointed out the core issue. I think these were larger issues that had been percolating for some time. I guess he thought it was OK.

Tillerson had emerged as a vocal critic on Russian Federation - for its role in the annexation of Crimea, support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and alleged meddling in the United States election.

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"Pompeo, coming in from the Central Intelligence Agency, is up to speed on this, and that's very important for Trump to have", he said.

Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo said that if confirmed, he looks forward to guiding the world's finest diplomatic corps in formulating and executing the President's foreign policy.

North Korea has been a major point of contention between the two with President Trump goading North Korea's leader Kim Jung Un and with Tillerson favoring negotiations.

He spoke on Tuesday of his desire to break the deal, but noted that Mr Tillerson "felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same". "When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was awful, he thought it was okay", Trump said. So if Pompeo makes a choice for that role, and we have a sense of who that person is and their kind of background, their approach, their thinking, that will give us a better insight into the future commercial policy of the United States towards Africa. "I wish Rex a lot of good things", the president added. He emphasized that his team has been "extraordinarily dedicated to our mission, which includes promoting values that I view as being very important".

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said the Senate confirmation process for Pompeo should be "vigorous".

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Tillerson had a tumultuous tenure at the State Department.

Tillerson was reported to have privately called Trump a "moron" in July after the president suggested a 10-fold increase in the USA nuclear arsenal.

Trump told reporters on the White House lawn on Tuesday morning that he did not discuss his decision with Tillerson but that the two "have been talking about this a long time".

However, a statement from Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, tweeted by ABC News' Conor Finnegan, contradicted Washington Post's version of the story. Goldstein said Tillerson was "unaware of the reason" he was sacked and "had had every intention of staying", feeling he was making progress on national security.

Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said his committe would continue its "positive relationship" with the CIA under her leadership.

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"While he's stopped short of actually advocating for regime change, he's come perilously close", said Isaac Stone Fish, a senior fellow at the Asia Society in Washington.

Senators divided on Trump's fired secretary of state