Trump mulls plan to replace Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief

Trump mulls plan to replace Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief

The White House is planning to remove Rex Tillerson from his role as secretary of state and replace him with Mike Pompeo, the current Central Intelligence Agency director.

Both CNN and Bloomberg subsequently reported that the White House is weighing replacing Tillerson with Pompeo.

The ouster of Mr. Tillerson would end a turbulent reign at the State Department for the former Exxon Mobil chief executive, who has been largely marginalized over the past year.

Mr Trump surprised many observers when he tweeted that Mr Tillerson was "wasting his time" pursuing contacts with North Korea, and Mr Tillerson was quoted as having said that the president was a "moron", though he denied having said it.

Tillerson's likely ouster loomed awkwardly over an Oval Office meeting Thursday between Trump and the visiting Bahraini crown prince.

Does the president still have confidence in Tillerson?

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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Kelly told Tillerson's chief of staff on Thursday the reports on Tillerson being replaced were not true.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there are "no personnel announcements at this time".

The White House noted Cohn's interview with CNBC earlier this month in which said he did not plan to leave after tax reform was finished. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, could present a wrinkle in the strategy. Axios's Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan reported last month that Pompeo's stock was rising in the White House and that he was a leading contender to replace Tillerson. The president was here today with the secretary of state.

Friction between the president and the nation's top diplomat has grown increasingly public through the year. Too much churn could fuel the perception of chaos in the Trump White House - perhaps one reason he has yet to pull the trigger. Mr. Trump and Mr. Tillerson have been at odds over a host of major issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, the confrontation with North Korea and a clash between Arab allies.

"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 USA diplomat who now teaches at Brown University.

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