Trump may replace Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo

Trump may replace Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo

Trump may replace Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo

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.

"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.

"They engaged in a foreign leader visit and are continuing to work together to close out what we've seen to be an incredible year". He retweeted a series of anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right account.

While President Trump has clashed with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he appears fond of Pompeo, accepting daily briefings from the West Point grad.

Tillerson was reported in October to have privately called Trump a "moron", something which the secretary of state sought to dismiss.

However Mr Pompeo, a former three-term member of Congress, has increasingly moved to the forefront as he has gained Mr Trump's trust on national security matters.

Friction between the president and the nation's top diplomat has grown increasingly public through the year.

The White House insists no change is imminent.

"This is a hellish environment for a secretary of state", said one State Department official on condition of anonymity.

"There's so much churn". 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.

Pompeo also has downplayed the extent of Russia's intervention, saying Moscow has sought to influence USA elections for decades.

While some intelligence officers say Pompeo tends to tell the president what he wants to hear rather than giving him their assessments, others say they have been impressed by his intellect, his willingness to listen and his advocacy of more robust covert operations.

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 did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

"There has never been a consideration in my mind to leave", Tillerson said. Shortly after Tillerson announced that the USA was in diplomatic contact with Pyongyang, Mr. Trump tweeted that "he is wasting his time".

His tenure has coincided with the departure of dozens of veteran foreign policy hands, and numerous State Department's senior policymaking positions remain unfilled.

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