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Major Shakeup! Trump Fires Rex Tillerson (Video)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:29
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“You’re fired” is becoming a broken record at the SWhite House. Trump doing what Trump does best I suppose.

President Trump has fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, replacing him with outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Gina Haspel will become new head of the CIA. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports from the White House on the startling developments.

President Trump Fires Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State, Replaces Him With Mike Pompeo | NBC News

Source NBC News

Rex Tillerson Is Out as Secretary of State; Donald Trump Taps Mike Pompeo

Gina Haspel will be nominated to lead the CIA

By Michael C. Bender and Nancy A. Youssef

Updated March 13, 2018 10:13 a.m. ET


WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of state, after months of speculation over his fate, and that Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo would be nominated to be the U.S.’s top diplomat.

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!

6:44 AM – Mar 13, 2018

Mr. Trump said in a morning tweet that Gina Haspel, currently deputy director of the CIA, would succeed Mr. Pompeo as the spy agency’s chief. Both nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

A former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive who had never served in government before assuming the State Department job, Mr. Tillerson has had public and private differences with Mr. Trump over key national-security issues, including the 2015 Iran nuclear agreementthe administration’s talks with North Korea, a dispute among Persian Gulf countries and the Paris climate accord.

But tensions seemed to cool in recent months. The president was satisfied with Mr. Tillerson’s performance in Asia, when they visited the continent together in November. And on North Korea, Mr. Trump has moved closer to Mr. Tillerson, who has long supported opening a dialogue with the regime.

Still, two senior administration officials said the president had lost trust in his secretary of state. After agreeing to talks last week with North Korea, Mr. Trump decided to make the move.

On Friday, White House officials called Mr. Tillerson to order him to come back home from a trip to Africa. Mr. Tillerson returned to the U.S. early Tuesday, a day earlier than scheduled, and didn’t learn he was terminated until an aide showed him Mr. Trump’s Tuesday tweet, according to a State Department official.

Mr. Tillerson wasn’t told why he was being removed from the post, the official said.

“The secretary did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason,” said Steve Goldstein, an agency spokesman. “But he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling and not to be regretted.”

Mr. Trump called Mr. Pompeo over the weekend and is believed to have offered him the job in that call, a U.S. official said.

“The president wanted to make sure the transition happens before the conversation takes place with North Korea, and with the trade issues taking effect,” a third senior administration official said.

In October, Mr. Tillerson publicly denied longstanding rumors about his possible resignation after a report that he had referred to Mr. Trump as a “moron” and had to be talked out of quitting by Vice President Mike Pence and others.

Mr. Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas, was among the few outsiders to Mr. Trump’s circle to develop a close relationship with the president, through the daily intelligence brief Mr. Pompeo conducted each morning. Mr. Pompeo, at times, would bring in CIA staffers to explain a particular issue or how they obtained a key piece of intelligence.

Mr. Pompeo’s name frequently appeared on short lists for jobs inside the White House, including as a possible successor to Chief of Staff John Kelly.

As CIA director, Mr. Pompeo demanded the Counterintelligence Mission Center report to him, and some said that hampered the agency’s ability to aggressively pursue any possible collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates helped in that effort. House Republicans who studied the issue said Monday they concluded that no collusion had taken place. Mr. Trump has denied any collusion and Russia has denied meddling.

Most notably, he delicately walked a line between a president who frequently criticized the intelligence community and the agents under his command angered by the president’s remarks.

On Sunday, Mr. Pompeo—and not Mr. Tillerson or Defense Secretary Jim Mattis —appeared on the Sunday talk shows to discuss a possible meeting between Mr. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Rest assured, when the president enters that room with Kim Jong-un, if Kim Jong-un lives up to the four commitments that he has made, those four major concessions, the president will be fully prepared for his conversation with Kim Jong-un,” Mr. Pompeo told CBS.

Ms. Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, is a career intelligence officer who has held assignments in its clandestine operations division. When she was named deputy director, her appointment was seen as likely to reassure colleagues bruised by Mr. Trump’s criticism of the intelligence community.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Ms. Haspel was part of a team of officials who oversaw the CIA’s detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists, using techniques that many experts and lawmakers since have described as torture, current and former officials have said.

Former officials who worked with Ms. Haspel have defended her role in the program, saying it was deemed legal and appropriate at the time by senior administration officials.

—Felicia Schwartz contributed to this article.   SOURCE Wall Street Journal


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