White House Plans To Fire Tillerson, Replace Him With CIA's Pompeo

Administration officials are floating a plan in which Trump would push out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with Mike Pompeo, who is now serving as Central Intelligence Agency director.

Pompeo, a former Republican Congressman from Kansas, is considered more hawkish than Tillerson.

This comes after a bitter few months between Tillerson and Mr. Trump in which the president has repeatedly undermined America's chief diplomat.

Wallace pointed back to an interview over the summer in which he asked Tillerson about Trump's controversial response to the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rallies.

Trump was alienated by the reported "moron" comment and Tillerson positions that differ from Trump's on North Korea and the Gulf standoff between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations, said another senior official.

The White House Chief of Staff John Kelly telephoned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday to tell him "the rumors are not true" about his possible dismissal, the State Department said. She says Tillerson continues to lead the department. "He serves at the pleasure of the president".

"I think he has represented the United States' interests exceedingly well, particularly in our region", she told Sky News on Friday.

Mr Cotton, the senator for Arkansas, has been a key ally of the president on national security matters.

If carried out, the staff changes would be the latest in a string of firings or resignations in the Trump administration including the departures of the chief of staff, national security adviser and Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

"So the question is not whether Pompeo can do the job but whether the president is going to let Pompeo do the job".

He has offered effusive praise for Trump despite the president's criticism of US intelligence agencies, some of which concluded that Russian Federation conducted an influence campaign to boost Trump in the 2016 presidential election. But he now appears poised to lose an argument: over Tillerson's objections, the president is poised to recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The move will come in the next several weeks, The New York Times reported, citing senior administration officials.

The former ExxonMobil executive has also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump last month disavowed.

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.

The two have clashed on policy issues, including North Korea.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Mr Tillerson was still secretary of state.

  • Joey Payne