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State Department looks past Tillerson to get ready for Pompeo

14 March 2018

In a surprise move, Trump announced today that he was removing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and elevating Haspel, who was his deputy.

Citing the Iran nuclear deal and other issues, Trump said he and Tillerson were "not really thinking the same". "I think, despite the rhetoric, we have known that there is tension between Mr. Tillerson, the White House, and with Congress", he said.

In the meantime, Tillerson, appears headed back to private life.

President Donald Trump's pick to be the next - and first female - director of the clandestine agency has conflicting public reputations.

Besides her record on torture, Haspel will be pressed on the CIA's views of Russia, which Pompeo seemed to downplay in deference to Trump, who has labelled stories of Russian interference in the 2016 election "fake news".

However, with the Trump administration's high turnover, China may not expect Pompeo to last the rest of Trump's term.

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

Trump publicly undercut Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives numerous times.

"Mike Pompeo, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will become our new Secretary of State", Trump wrote, "He will do a fantastic job!"

"The secretary did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason" for his removal, said Goldstein, who also was sacked shortly after the release of the statement.

Then Goldstein, hours after making those comments, was fired, too.

Minister Taro Kono told reporters in Tokyo. "So, we will see".

Multiple White House officials said that Tillerson had been informed of the decision Friday, while he was in Ethiopia.

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Micheal Flynn, National Security Advisor resigned in February after his disclosure that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to United States before Trump took office.

"This is going to reopen wounds from a decade and more ago, and also invite more oversight of both our analyses and our activities, especially if Gina is confirmed", said one USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity. I think these were larger issues that had been percolating for some time.

As CIA Director, Pompeo often delivered the President's Daily Brief to Trump in person, and would also field the president's queries on a range of topics. Tillerson had repeatedly dispelled speculation that Trump would completely scrap the agreement.

And on "Jimmy Kimmel Live", the 2018 Oscar host took a different approach and said that it was odd to him that Trump used a tweet to fire Tillerson when he has had so much past experience of firing people in person on "The Apprentice". "It makes sense when you consider that Trump hired Tillerson on Tinder". Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Deputy CIA director Gina Haspel will succeed Mr Pompeo, becoming the first woman to lead the agency.

Several officials described Pompeo as accomplished, smart and someone who has developed a relationship with the President, which is not seen as an easy thing to do.

He was confirmed to the post by a 66-32 vote and sworn in on January 23, 2017.

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"He will do a fantastic job!"

Pompeo faces Senate confirmation hearings where he is expected to be asked about his approach toward Russian Federation. He also praised Trump, saying, "His leadership has made America safer".

Kono told reporters Wednesday that he "regretted" that Tillerson was sacked as the two had established a trusting relationship.

A White House official said Trump was eager to make the switch in advance of upcoming talks with North Korea and ongoing trade negotiations.

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State Department looks past Tillerson to get ready for Pompeo