Top State Department aide fired after comment on Rex Tillerson sacking

Gina Haspel

Rumors about friction between Trump and Tillerson increased last fall with reports that Tillerson had called the president a "moron" while meeting with other officials.

But his efforts were often overshadowed by Trump's un-diplomatic style and his streams of taunting tweets stirring worldwide tensions.

The US president announced the appointment of Gina Haspel, a career intelligence officer, to head the Central Intelligence Agency - the first woman tapped for the post.

Rex Tillerson, the Texas oil man who has served as President Trump's secretary of state since February 2017, has been fired.

U.S. President Donald Trump is telling reporters that he made the decision to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "by myself". "We agree that those responsible - both those who committed the crime and those who ordered it - must face appropriately serious consequences", Tillerson said. "I would tell you that President Trump is the kind of recipient of our information at the same level that they are", Pompeo said during an event at the American Enterprise Institute.

But he says, it had seemed "that they had learned to work together a little bit better".

"Those statements are just absurd", Pompeo said at the time.

The firing of U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, will not lead to an improvement in strained ties with Germany, Deputy Foreign Minister, Michael Roth, said on Tuesday.

"Ms. Haspel's background makes her unsuitable to serve as CIA director", said Democrat Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Tillerson would have rather seen a negotiated separate agreement with European partners on curbing Iran's non-nuclear ambitions, instead of a full American withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

The president noted that the Iran nuclear deal was a point of contention, but there were other issues where the two famously clashed, including Trump's withdrawal of the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Mr Trump has vowed to stop waiving USA sanctions unless European allies agreed to strengthen the deal's terms by consenting to a side agreement that would effectively eliminate provisions that allow Iran to gradually resume some advanced atomic work.

But Tillerson, who only landed in Washington D.C., early Tuesday morning after a trip to Africa, was reportedly unaware that he was being removed until he saw Trump's tweet, according to NBC News.

On Monday, Tillerson blamed Russia for the poisonings in England of a former Russian double agent and his daughter. When Trump ultimately accepted Kim's invitation for a meeting, Tillerson was in Ethiopia, though he said he spoke with Trump about it shortly before it was announced. "He will do a fantastic job!". And, you know, I wish Rex a lot of good things. Trump said that Haspel, who must first be confirmed by the Senate, will become the first woman in the position. "Congratulations to all!" Trump said on Twitter. Tillerson had privately encouraged Trump over the a year ago to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, believing that pulling out would be a greater risk to national security.

The White House and those close to Tillerson gave conflicting accounts of the timing of the former secretary of state's firing.

In December, Tillerson had offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a USA demand that Pyongyang must accept that any negotiations would be about giving up its nuclear arsenal. That decision left Tillerson looking completely out of touch with the White House.

Trump contradicted Tillerson's efforts a day later. With Tillerson out and Pompeo heading the State Department, Trump will have even more freedom to go ahead and withdraw from the deal when the deadline to agree to remain in it arrives in May. "This relationship will empower him throughout his tenure as secretary of state".

There's been another shakeup in President Trump's administration, and while it has been rumored and hinted at for months, the shock at the latest departure is no less resonant.

Tillerson also called out Russia, saying "much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian government".