Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson Fired, Replaced By CIA Director Mike Pompeo

Gina Haspel

The undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, Steve Goldstein, says Tillerson "had every intention of staying" in the job because he felt he was making critical progress in national security.

Rumors of Tillerson's ouster first started late previous year, when reports that appeared to be targeted leaks from the White House emerged that Trump was souring on his secretary of state, following policy disputes and embarrassing leaks.

Although some reports indicated Trump had asked Tillerson to step down last Friday, Tillerson's official ouster comes less than 12 hours after he released a strongly-worded statement over Moscow's alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. On Tuesday morning, as Trump headed out to California for his first visit to the state after he became President, he told reporters that that he made the decision to oust his Secretary of State on his own and that he was a "good man" who would be "much happier now". His political obituaries were already being written after Trump undermined him or sidelined him on several issues, including the Iran nuclear deal (which Tillerson supported). I guess he thought it was okay.

"I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently, so we were not really thinking the same". "I can tell you who is going to win", the president told Forbes magazine during an interview later.

A top State Department official says President Donald Trump never explained to ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the reason why he was sacked.

Tillerson "had every intention of staying" at his job before he was sacked.

President Trump is saying the opposite.

When asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday if Tillerson would be leading the diplomatic talks between the USA and North Korea, Pompeo said such discussions would take a "team" effort.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Pompeo also would take over a State Department shaken by the departures of many senior diplomats and embittered by proposed budget cuts.

There was the usual clutch of polite, smarmy statements from all sides, but the sacking of Tillerson was abrupt and humiliating, redolent of Trump's reality TV style famously showcased in The Apprentice. It was later announced he was flying back to Washington DC on Tuesday.

Potential talks with North Korea were apparently the catalyst for booting Rex Tillerson from the State Department.

For Trump, the shift comes at a critical time for several key foreign policy priorities, including a decision on whether to withdraw the US from the 2015 Iran deal that Pompeo has called "disastrous". Now it's clear he had one move in particular in mind.

In October, Pompeo caused a stir when he said the intelligence community's assessment of Russia's campaign interference was that it "did not affect the outcome of the election".

Working as a clandestine officer in Thailand in 2002, Haspel reportedly was involved in the interrogations of two suspects, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, several news outlets reported past year.

Before being tapped to run the CIA, Pompeo spent six years as a Republican representative from Kansas.

But former Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, who served during the Obama administration, defended her integrity in carrying out the program.

"Pompeo has a sort of hard-line approach on foreign policy that's quite black and white, and that's also how Trump sees the world", Ilan Goldenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security who worked at the State Department under then-Secretary John Kerry, said in an interview in December.

Last week, it looked like Mr Tillerson was unaware of the President's plan to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Last autumn, Mr Trump publicly undercut the former Texas oilman by tweeting that he was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korea.

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