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Trump 'poised to oust' top diplomat Tillerson

Both Tillerson (L) and Trump have aired striking differences in public [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 November, 2017

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The White House is 'discussing a plan' to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo.

The White House has a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA chief Mike Pompeo within weeks, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted unnamed senior administration officials as saying Trump had soured on Tillerson and was ready for a change at the State Department, probably around the end of the year.

The two men have aired striking differences in public. Trump surprised many observers when he tweeted that Tillerson was "wasting his time" pursuing contacts with North Korea, and Tillerson was quoted as having said – though he denied it – that the president was a "moron."

The former ExxonMobil executive has also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump last month disavowed.

It was not clear Thursday whether the president had given final approval to the reported cabinet changes.

Under the plan, which the paper said was developed by White House chief of staff John Kelly, Pompeo would be replaced at the CIA by Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and an important Trump ally on national security issues.

That could leave Republicans with another seat to defend in the 2018 elections.

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