Tillerson will be out at State Department within weeks

01 December, 2017, 05:41 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • 171130_WS_tomCotton

Tom Cotton (R-AR) would then succeed Pompeo as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Vanity Fair, citing current and former State Department employees, confirmed the plan, as did CNN.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly developed the plan to replace Tillerson, the report said, which involves nominating Sen.

"If the president undercuts what he is trying to achieve diplomatically, convinces people that whatever you agree to with the secretary of state will be overturned by the president ... then he is basically neutered", said Richard Boucher, a former top US diplomat who now teaches at Brown University.

"Under his plan, the shake-up of the national security team would happen around the end of the year or shortly afterward". He's heard these stories before.

"This is a hellish environment for a secretary of state", said one State Department official on condition of anonymity. Nauert added that Tillerson "serves at the pleasure of the president".

"There are no personnel announcements at this time", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later said in a statement that left Tillerson twisting in the wind.


Tillerson has embittered many in the State Department by embracing the planned budget cut, failing to get top officials into key diplomatic jobs, relying on a handful of aides and keeping his distance from career diplomats.

The White House insists no change is imminent. But Trump never signed off, and officials have struggled to focus his attention on the matter, the individual said.

Pompeo, 53, who has taken tough foreign policy stands, especially on Iran, has publicly talked about how the spy agency is becoming more aggressive and how he has been focusing on deploying more CIA officers overseas. Cotton's first-term as a U.S. Senator runs through 2020. He's been a supporter of President Trump.

When Tillerson in June called on Arab nations to ease their blockade on Qatar, Trump emerged in the Rose Garden hours later to lambaste Qatar for funding terrorism.

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

In late September, while on a trip to Beijing, Tillerson said Washington was probing North Korea to see whether it was interested in dialogue, and had multiple direct channels of communication with Pyongyang.

Tillerson's likely ouster, which was first reported by the New York Times, loomed awkwardly over an Oval Office meeting Thursday between Trump and the visiting Bahraini crown prince.

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