Trump mulls plan to replace Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief

Trump mulls plan to replace Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency chief

President Donald Trump brushed aside reports Thursday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's exit is imminent.

The State Department says White House chief of staff John Kelly is disputing reports of a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Relations between President Trump and the senior member of his Cabinet - the former CEO of Exxon Mobil - have been strained nearly from the start.

The reason for the major shake-up is because Trump has reportedly "soured" on Tillerson and "is ready to make a change at the State Department".

Trump has soured on Tillerson mostly because of the "moron" report, his less confrontational approach on North Korea and differences over the Qatar crisis, one senior USA official said.

"The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of State because I have never considered leaving", Tillerson said.

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Does the president still have confidence in Tillerson? The White House has a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo within weeks, the New York Times reported.

"It may be February, it may be March, it may be April, but I think once you get to that time period, people are going to feel as though they've kind of put their time in", said one person with close ties to the White House.

The attempt at public shaming is just the latest such instance emanating from the Trump White House, where the President has repeatedly publicly undermined his secretary of state and publicly berated his attorney general.

The White House insists no change is imminent.

No matter how long Tillerson is allowed to stay on, his stature and ability to speak on Trump's behalf has been impaired, it is widely agreed. But the Arkansas Secretary of State's office raised questions about that clause, noting that US Constitution may offer a conflicting view that could override the state statute.

At a private dinner of foreign policy veterans last month, a senior White House official criticized Tillerson for failing to support the president's agenda, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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