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Trump fires Secretary of State Tillerson, taps Central Intelligence Agency director Pompeo
13 March 2018, 06:32 | Glen Norman
Gina Haspel will be the first female CIA director if her nomination is confirmed
President Donald Trump is telling reporters that he made the decision to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "by myself".
Trump designated White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as acting director, but Cordray named a deputy director as his replacement, triggering a political and legal battle. Tillerson was also often out of step with Trump on foreign policy, most notably with issues involving North Korea. Last week, Trump's chief economic advisor Gary Cohnresigned after the president announced he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Tillerson has urged Trump to stay in the landmark nuclear disarmament deal, but the president has vowed to withdraw by mid-May if it is not renegotiated. "So we were not really thinking the same".
"I had a very good conversation with Director Pompeo this morning and look forward to meeting with him soon", Corker said in a statement.
Early past year, Haley and her husband led Pompeo and his wife on a personal tour of the U.N. Security Council.
It appeared the last straw was Tillerson's statement that Russia was "clearly" behind a chemical weapons attack on British soil last week targeting a Russian double agent.
The reshuffle comes at a time of intense turnover within Trump's administration that has alarmed those both in and out of the White House. The sources weren't authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity.
Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump's announcement.
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A White House official said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of upcoming talks with North Korea and various trade talks. Yet the president appears to expect a deal with Kim on denuclearization.
Stocks pared gains on the Tillerson news, but then stabilized. S&P futures were last up 0.3 percent. "He will do a fantastic job!" the president tweeted.
The departure of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state is not a shocking development. Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the first woman to hold the position.
"Congratulations to all!" the president said.
Tillerson joined a long list of senior officials who have either resigned or been fired since Trump took office in January 2017.
Now, Trump is heading into an unprecedented face-to-face meeting with North Korea'sKim Jong Un over that country's nuclear program.
In December, Tillerson had offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a key USA demand that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.
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A government outsider lacking diplomatic experience, Tillerson arrived at the White House after decades at Exxon Mobile, rising from engineer in 1975 to chairman and CEO in 2006, overseeing vast expansion of the company's operations worldwide.
Several months earlier in Beijing, Tillerson told reporters the United States was directly communicating with North Korea but that Pyongyang had shown no interest in dialogue.
"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man", Trump wrote on Twitter, using a pejorative nickname for Kim.
"Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!"
Goldstein says Tillerson will miss his colleagues at the State Department and the foreign ministers he worked with.
Many Democrats in Congress expressed dismay at Tillerson's firing, saying the change would sow more instability in the administration at a crucial time.
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