Trump considers plan to replace Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief

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If Trump went with Pompeo, he would tap a former Army armor officer and Harvard Law School graduate who was in his fourth term representing a Kansas district in Congress when he was chosen to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, where officials say he has enjoyed a less hostile relationship with career spies than Tillerson has had with career diplomats. Democratic Party of Arkansas spokesman Graham Senor says, "There's a long line of people who have expressed interested in running against Senator Cotton in 2020, so we expect that a U.S. Senate election in 2018 would see many people throw their hats in the ring".

"There's been a Tillerson death watch since the spring", said Derek Chollet, a former State Department, Pentagon and National Security Council official in the Obama administration.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there are "no personnel announcements at this time". Nauert added that Tillerson "serves at the pleasure of the president".

Pompeo, a former congressman, has moved to the forefront as he has gained Trump's trust on national security matters.

Tillerson, 65, has spent much of his tenure trying to smooth the rough edges of Trump's unilateralist "America First" foreign policy, with limited success.

Shortly after the news broke, Trump was peppered by reporters about the veracity of the story at the White House.

Mr. Trump has been publicly frustrated with his top diplomat.

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Kelle Louaillier, president of Corporate Accountability International, said that while ousting Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, might otherwise be a positive step, having Pompeo in charge of the U.S. State Department would be nothing to celebrate.

Wallace questioned why the reported plan calls for Tillerson to stay until late January, adding the secretary is scheduled to make a trip to Europe next week to meet with key USA allies. "It feels like whiplash", a State Department official said.

He has offered effusive praise for Trump in interviews and speeches despite the president's public criticism of USA intelligence agencies and his dismissal of the finding by some of them that Russian Federation conducted an influence campaign to boost Trump over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election. He's been a supporter of President Trump.

Tillerson has taken a more hawkish view than Trump on Russian Federation and tried to mediate a dispute among key U.S. Mideast allies, after four Arab nations launched a boycott of Qatar, alleging Islamist extremist ties.

The White House did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace reacted on "Outnumbered Overtime", saying it "sure does seem like Tillerson is on the way out" given that White House statement. Tillerson's advice to Trump to stay in the Paris climate deal and certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal was similarly overruled.