Trump's choice of Pompeo could boost negotiations with NK

15 March, 2018, 06:08 | Author: Simon Thompson
  • Rand Paul Opposes Trump's Pick for CIA Director: She Seemed to 'Enjoy' Torture

It comes just two months before the next deadline for the Iran nuclear deal, when Trump must decide whether to reimpose nuclear-related sanctions as he has said he is inclined to do, effectively withdrawing from the multilateral agreement reached in 2015 by the Obama administration and other world powers.

"We disagreed on things", Trump told reporters at the White House - a diplomatic take on a fractious relationship that included reports that Tillerson had privately called the president a "moron".

"The current situation is a result of three-way (behind-the-scenes) talks among North Korea's United Front Department, South Korea's spy agency and the US' CIA", he said.

"She may face the same tough choice that Tillerson and others have faced: Stick to your convictions or knuckle under to keep your job", a fourth official said.

He did not mention anything about Trump.

"This is going to reopen wounds from a decade and more ago, and also invite more oversight of both our analyses and our activities, especially if Gina is confirmed", said one us official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Tillerson will pass authority at midnight to Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, remaining at the department for handover purposes until March 31. Goldstein said the former Exxon Mobil CEO was "unaware of the reason" he was sacked and "had had every intention of staying".

When Trump moved into the White House, he promised an "America First" platform that could have reshaped U.S. foreign and trade policy more radically than at any point since the beginning of the Cold War. On Monday, Tillerson told reporters traveling with him that he was "very, very concerned" with Russia's growing aggression.

Multiple White House officials said that Tillerson had been informed of the decision Friday, while he was in Ethiopia.

Ironically, Trump complained that Tillerson was "too establishment" when he described his reasons for removing him - a corporate outsider who had ambitious plans to apply his experience running a global energy supermajor to wholly restructuring the State Department.

Trump was perceptive in his post-firing comments: "I think Rex will be much happier now, but I really appreciate his service".

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US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confer during a working lunch with African leaders during the U.N. General Assembly in NY, U.S. on September 20, 2017.

Although Tillerson insisted he had what he called a good relationship with Trump, Tillerson and his small circle of aides often found themselves at odds with some Trump aides.

In contrast, Trump said he and Pompeo have "a similar thought process".

Dr. Irene Langran, an associate professor of political science at Albright College, agreed that the timing of Tillerson's departure is concerning, particularly in light of the looming talks with North Korea. When Trump ultimately accepted Kim's invitation for a meeting, Tillerson was in Ethiopia, though he said he spoke with Trump at 2:30 a.m., shortly before it was announced. But it's been a pretty common story in the Trump administration of senior officials leaving the White House due to conflicts with Trump.

"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.

Trump chose the Central Intelligence Agency's deputy director, Gina Haspel, to replace Pompeo at the CIA.

Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, has been one of Trump's most loyal Cabinet members and quickly formed a close bond with the president, coming personally to the White House most days to deliver the President's Daily Briefing.

Both Pompeo and Haspel require Senate confirmation to assume their new posts.

Announcing Tillerson's sacking in a tweet earlier Tuesday, Trump lavished praise on Pompeo, saying he would do a "fantastic job!" Pompeo will need confirmation by the Senate.

Senate Democrat Ron Wyden of OR, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced opposition to Haspel's nomination, as her past renders her "unsuitable" to run the agency.

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