U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had replaced U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, and had tapped Gina Haspel to lead the CIA. Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Trump announced the decision on Twitter today.
According to the Associated Press, Tillerson had returned from a shortened trip to Africa just hours before the announcement.
The president - who has long clashed will Tillerson, who he believes is "too establishment" in his thinking - felt it was important to make the change now, as he prepares for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as upcoming trade negotiations, three White House officials said.
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Pompeo is to be replaced at CIA by Gina Haspel, Pompeo's deputy at CIA, Trump tweeted.
The former ExxonMobil CEO's nomination as head of the State Department passed a Senate panel by a 11-10 party line vote January 23. Pompeo, confirmed as Central Intelligence Agency director in January 2017, had served in the House as the representative from Kansas' 4th District from 2011 to 2017. She will be the first woman to take that role.
Before issuing his statement, Tillerson called his British counterpart Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to discuss the investigation into last week's attempt to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the southwest of England.