March 24, 2018

Trump fires Secretary of State Tillerson

14 March 2018, 05:58 | Frank Carlson

Gina Haspel will be the first female CIA director if her nomination is confirmed

Gina Haspel will be the first female CIA director if her nomination is confirmed

Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a "great American" who worked hard, but just didn't have the rapport with President Donald Trump needed for the job, Rep. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.

The planned meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and ongoing tensions with Russian Federation over election interference are clearly going to be far more pressing issues for Rex Tillerson's replacement at the State Department. Outside the White House, Trump explained that he liked Tillerson, but the two butted heads too often on too many issues. Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia to ease off Qatar, but Trump took the Saudis' side and labeled Qatar a "funder of terrorism". The nomination was waiting for the confirmation of the Senate. "North Korea summit, and his thinking is close to Trump's", the source said.

Daniel Russel, the top USA diplomat for East Asia and the Pacific until last April and now at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said Tillerson's replacement by Pompeo could be positive for dialogue with North Korea. As Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Steve Goldstein said in a statement Tuesday, "The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve". Between 2003 and 2005, she oversaw a secret CIA prison in Thailand where terror suspects Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded, current and former US intelligence officials told the Associated Press.

"The secretary had every intention of remaining because of the tangible progress made on critical national security issues".

Hours later, Mr Goldstein was himself fired. The foreign minister only met with him in September of previous year.

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Tillerson was an early advocate for US participation in talks with North Korea, though not at such a high level. Compare Tillerson's response to that of Pompeo.

"He must be asked whether he will put our nation's interests above loyalty oaths to the president's personal agenda", Pingree said in a prepared statement.

While the message was aimed at Pyongyang, it also helped Tillerson make the case for peace at the White House.

Trump has also faced a cloud of ethics allegations surrounding other members of his Cabinet, including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin - the latter of whom is said to be on thin ice with the president. Top economic adviser Gary Cohn announced his resignation last week, not long after communications director Hope Hicks and staff secretary Rob Porter both departed near the start of Trump's second year in office. Current and former White House officials said Pompeo has proven more adept at negotiating the shifting power structures inside the administration and in reading and responding to the wishes of the president.

Ms Bishop repeatedly said she was confident Australia would have a good working relationship with Mr Pompeo. Trump is also said to respect Pompeo's military background and West Point pedigree.

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