CIA's Pompeo brings insider's touch to secretary of state role


US President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

"Russia will cooperate with those who are appointed to this or another post in the Trump administration", the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited senior Federation Council senator Yevgeny Serebrennikov as saying Tuesday.

USA stock index futures pared their gains and the dollar also trimmed gains versus the yen while extending losses versus the euro amid the news.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says he hopes CIA Director Mike Pompeo will "turn over a new leaf" as secretary of state and toughen policies toward Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin.

Tillerson also appeared out of the loop last week when Trump announced he would meet with North Korea's leader and become the first sitting US president to do so.

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In December Mr Tillerson had offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a key USA demand that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.

In announcing Tillerson's sacking earlier Tuesday, Trump praisesd Pompeo, a former U.S. army officer and congressman who led the Central Intelligence Agency for almost 14 months, saying he would do a "fantastic job!"

President Trump was utterly dismissive of reporting, back in October, that his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had frayed to the point of nearly breaking.

A White House official said Trump wanted to have a new team in place ahead of upcoming talks with North Korea and various trade talks.

Pompeo will need to be confirmed by the Senate to take over as secretary of state.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said in a statement that he spoke with Pompeo by phone on Monday morning. Tillerson was also often out of step with Trump on foreign policy, most notably with issues involving North Korea.

The State Department said Tillerson only learned of his termination when he read Trump's tweet on Tuesday morning. "I wish him all the best in his future endeavors".

Mr Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Mr Trump's announcement. The two also disagreed on whether the US should remain part of the Iran deal brokered in 2015 to stop the country's development of nuclear weapons.

Last autumn, Mr Trump publicly undercut the former Texas oilman by tweeting that he was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korea.

But the White House distanced itself from those remarks, and a few days later, Mr Tillerson himself backed off. The Post's Gearan, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker reported on October 4 that "the already tense relationship between the two headstrong men - one a billionaire former real estate developer, the other a former captain of the global oil industry - has ruptured into what some White House officials call an irreparable breach that will inevitably lead to Tillerson's departure, whether immediately or not". "But that is why we do our job here and they do their job at the White House". Things went steeply south when it was reported that Tillerson had called Trump a moron, a claim that the secretary of state did not directly refute. Top economic adviser Gary Cohn announced his resignation last week, not long after communications director Hope Hicks and staff secretary Rob Porter both departed near the start of Trump's second year in office.

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He said Mr. Pompeo "will continue our program of restoring America's standing in the world, strengthening our alliances, confronting our adversaries, and seeking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".