Mike Pompeo might bring assets to 'hellish' secretary of state role

The White House has developed a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson within weeks, a senior Trump administration official has said.

"Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the State Department and the entire cabinet is focused on completing this incredibly successful first year of President Trump's administration", she said in a statement.

Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has had a testy relationship with President Trump at times.

The next day, Trump appeared to dismiss those efforts in a tweet, telling Tillerson he was "wasting his time".

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Perhaps more damaging for his internal prospects, though, was a report in October that Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" at one point in the summer - a report Tillerson has conspicuously never denied.

Nauert says Tillerson serves at the president's pleasure and remains in his role until told otherwise.

If Cotton were to take the Central Intelligence Agency job, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, would select someone to fill the vacant seat - and Republican officials would have a tight time frame to field a candidate who can win statewide in 2018, even though Arkansas is a deep red state. "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".

Asked about Tillerson, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the secretary of state remained in his post. 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. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, could present a wrinkle in the strategy.

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Things change quickly at the Trump White House.

A source familiar with Tillerson's thinking said the secretary of state's original plan when he took the job was to leave in February.

The president and Mr Tillerson have also been at odds over a range of policy issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and the approach the United States should take with North Korea.

That's according to two administration officials.

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"It's been evident to me that for some time, somebody is, you know, seeking to undermine his presence here", Corker said.

  • Ryan Wade