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Donald Trump dumps Rex Tillerson as secretary of state

16 March 2018

In an announcement, the White House said Pompeo, nominated by President Donald Trump on Tuesday to replace Rex Tillerson, has a "distinguished career" as the head of Central Intelligence Agency.

"I will now return to private life, private citizen, a proud American, proud of the opportunity I've had to serve my country".

Tillerson's ouster comes just days after Trump fired the opening salvo in what critics warn could become a trade war. "The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason", it said. Tillerson will remain secretary in name until March 31, when he formally resigns his commission.

Trump removed Tillerson on Tuesday and announced CIA director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe CIA may need to call White House to clarify Russian Federation meddling Intel agencies to brief officials from all 50 states on election threats Russian Federation probe complicating House hearing on threats facing U.S.: report MORE would be taking the helm of the State Department.

While saying he respects the president's decision, the Van Meter Republican also pays tribute to Tillerson.

Analysts believe the move would sow more instability in the volatile Trump administration and mark the replacement of another moderate with a hawk. Tillerson canceled his entire schedule that Saturday in Ethiopia, with the State Department telling reporters he was sick.

Mr Tillerson's dismissal follows a wave of departures and turmoil in Mr Trump's inner circle.

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Trump expects to have "a vigorous internal debate and then have everyone be on the same page" with the final decision, said a former Trump campaign official with knowledge of the White House's thinking, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"I'm not going to question it", he said.

Tillerson backs the Iran nuclear pact, the 2015 deal that eased crushing economic sanctions in exchange for allowing the nation to pursue its nuclear energy ambitions.

During his months in office, Tillerson had pressed Trump to stick with the nuclear agreement with Iran and other world powers.

From the first, Tillerson and Trump were the oddest of pairings.

The decision comes as the United States administration is preparing for high stakes and historic talks between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"President Trump is determined to prevent that from happening in North Korea", Pompeo told CBS. "President Trump said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May". Mitch McConnell could still bring Pompeo's nomination to the floor anyway, but it will still be an embarrassment to the White House.

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I wish the very best for him as he assumes the important role of Secretary of State.

The top job at the CIA is opening since Trump has picked the agency's director, Mike Pompeo, to replace Tillerson.

It hailed Pompeo's work in confronting threats to USA security, working with allies around the world to stop terrorism and securing election integrity for the United States and its European partners.

"He will do a fantastic job!" Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Even Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democrat who led the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the CIA interrogation program, suggested that she is willing to consider Haspel's nomination. Pompeo has said that military strikes on Tehran would be more effective than diplomacy.

No matter whose version of events is most accurate, one thing's for sure: The White House is a fine-tuned machine.

The official said Tillerson's chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, and deputy chief of staff, Christine Ciccone, had resigned.

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Donald Trump dumps Rex Tillerson as secretary of state