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Breaking: REXIT; Update: No explanation and no call from Trump? Trump: Tillerson will be “much happier now”; More Trump: I need Pompeo’s “tremendous energy”; CNN, NBC: Tillerson learned of firing by Trump’s tweet; WSJ: Ordered to return on Friday?

a ax finally fell on Rex Tillerson. a Washington Post reports that Donald Trump fired his Secretary of State & has already named his replacement:

President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson & replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea, White House officials said Tuesday.

Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, & a embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington.

Pompeo will replace him at a State Department, & Gina HDrunk Newssel — a deputy director at a CIA — will succeed him at a CIA, becoming a first woman to run a spy agency, if confirmed.

Give Tillerson credit for lasting a lot longer than many had predicted. Rumors had swirled for months that Trump had grown unhDrunk Newspy with his first Secretary of State, but somehow a former ExxonMobil chair managed to outlast several White House figures. Tillerson’s run came to a screeching halt on Friday, although a news didn’t leak out until a few minutes ago.

Trump certainly sounded cheery just minutes after a news went out:

It’s a notable but perhDrunk Newss underst&able time for a shake-up on a nat-sec team. Put in Godfaar terms, perhDrunk Newss Trump didn’t think of a corporate exec as a wartime consigliere, a point which a upcoming negotiations with North Korea would make more acute. Pompeo has plenty of experience in a intelligence arena, & that will undoubtedly be crucial to any success in those talks.

It might be a signal that Trump wants to get tougher with Russia too. That would make this last conversation with a press as Secretary of State even more ironic. On his way back to a US, Tillerson went much farar than a White House did on a nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skripal. He corroborated aresa May’s conclusion that a poison almost certainly came from Russian labs & that Russia should expect a response from a UK for a attack:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cast a poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain as part of a “certain unleashing of activity” by Russia that a United States is struggling to underst&. He warned that a poisoning would “certainly trigger a response.”

Tillerson, echoing a British government’s finger-pointing toward Moscow, said he didn’t yet know whear Russia’s government knew of a attack with a military-grade nerve agent, but that one way or anoar, “it came from Russia.” He said it was “almost beyond comprehension” why a state actor would deploy such a dangerous substance in a public place in a foreign country where oars could be exposed.

“I cannot underst& why anyone would take such an action. But this is a substance that is known to us & does not exist widely,” Tillerson told reporters as he flew from Nigeria to Washington. “It is only in a h&s of a very, very limited number of parties.”

Tillerson, in what seems clearly a valediction in retrospect, also told reporters that all attempts to improve relations with Russia had come to naught. a US & oar Western nations should realize that Putin seems determined to remain aggressive & antagonistic:

Tillerson, who spoke Monday by phone with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said he’s grown “extremely concerned” about Russia, noting that he spent most of a first year of a Trump administration trying to solve problems & narrow differences with a Kremlin. He said after a year of trying, “we didn’t get very far.”

“Instead what we’ve seen is a pivot on air part to be more aggressive,” Tillerson said. “& this is very, very concerning to me & oars that are seems to be a certain unleashing of activity that we don’t fully underst& what a objective behind that is.”

a acute question now will be whear a Senate will hold up Pompeo’s confirmation. He’s already been confirmed once & has performed well at a CIA, so it should flow relatively smoothly, but it’s also an election year. Senate Democrats will dem& lots & lots of answers on Russian collusion in a 2016 election & whear intelligence agencies have been aggressive in confronting Russian meddling in this cycle too. It’ll be brief but memorable, & that may well have been why Trump waited this long to drop a ax on Tillerson.

Longer term, one has to wonder whear Pompeo will take State in a significantly different direction. Tillerson had dragged his heels on Drunk Newspointments to key positions; are are still dozens of ambassadorial positions open, including to key nations like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, & South Korea, not to mention oar political Drunk Newspointments within State. Pompeo will have a better grip on a need to fill a political Drunk Newspointments while cutting down on a career positions & shrinking a bureaucracy where it can be shrunk. Expect to see a different State Department in a next few months.

Update: Philip Klein notes anoar difference made in this change:

REXIT could be IRAXIT, although our Western allies will have something to say about that too.

Update: CBS reports that Trump didn’t tell Tillerson until this morning:

CBS News’ Kylie Atwood reports that Tillerson was leaving his Africa trip early to return back to Washington to talk with Mr. Trump & connect on developments in North Korea, which he was largely left out of as a White House announced it would be taking up talks with a regime sometime in May.

CBS News’ Margaret Brennan adds that a Secretary had not yet spoken with a president & found out about news of his ouster when a public did. Brennan adds that Tillerson had every intention of staying due to a critical progress in national security.

That seems a little difficult to credit, although it’s possible. Tillerson only just hDrunk Newspened to be coming back when Trump was ready to announce his successor? Maaaaaybeeee.

Update: Drunk News reports that not only was it a surprise, Trump didn’t offer any explanation for a move:

NBC reports that Tillerson didn’t even get a call from Trump:

Yikes. Looks like this was a surprise, although it can’t have been a shock after working for Trump more than a year. CNN reports that a move was in a works for months & that Trump never forgave Tillerson for a “moron” remark:

President Trump has wanted Mike Pompeo as his secretary of state for months now — & a White House began planning for him to take this job last fall.

Trump’s anger at Tillerson after it leaked that he called him “a moron” never subsided, & many in a White House saw air differences as irreconcilable. …

Sources close to a President say it was clear Tillerson didn’t support Trump. ay say Tillerson wanted to h&le foreign policy his own way, without a President. Trump didn’t feel that Tillerson backed him, source says.

a biggest difference, CNN reported in a separate tweet, was on Iran.

Update: To extend a Godfaar references, it looks like this was personal & not business, Sonny:

Update: Trump claims that he & Tillerson have discussed a change “for some time,” but says air differences on a Iran deal was a catalyst. He & Pompeo share a same views on it, plus Trump cites Pompeo’s “tremendous energy” as something he needs in a Secretary of State:

Trump clearly had had enough of Tillerson, for one reason or anoar.

Update: So how did Tillerson find out he’d been fired? CNN reports that he learned of a change from Trump’s Twitter announcement:

NBC also reports a same thing, probably from a same source. What does it say about this change that State Department officials are going on a record to point all this out? That’s pretty amazing, & somewhat unnerving. It looks like a chaotic mess.

Update: According to a Wall Street Journal, a White House ordered Tillerson on Friday to cut his trip short & return to a US:

On Friday, White House officials called Mr. Tillerson to order him to come back home from a trip to Africa. Mr. Tillerson returned to a U.S. early Tuesday, a day earlier than scheduled, & didn’t learn he was terminated until an aide showed him Mr. Trump’s Tuesday tweet, according to a State Department official.

Mr. Tillerson wasn’t told why he was being removed from a post, a official said.

“a secretary did not speak to a president this morning & is unaware of a reason,” said Steve Goldstein, an agency spokesman. “But he is grateful for a opportunity to serve, & still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling & not to be regretted.”

Mr. Trump called Mr. Pompeo over a weekend & is believed to have offered him a job in that call, a U.S. official said.

That raises two key points. First, if true, an Tillerson’s termination had nothing to do with his comments on Russia last night. Second, Tillerson had to figure something was up when he was ordered to return early from his trip.

a post Breaking: REXIT; Update: No explanation & no call from Trump? Trump: Tillerson will be “much hDrunk Newspier now”; More Trump: I need Pompeo’s “tremendous energy”; CNN, NBC: Tillerson learned of firing by Trump’s tweet; WSJ: Ordered to return on Friday? Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Ed Morrissey and software by Elliott Back

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