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Saturday August 17th, 2019 10:58AM

The Latest: Tillerson here, working, Trump spokeswoman says

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's national security team (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump's press secretary isn't denying reports that he is considering replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

But Sarah Huckabee Sanders notes that Tillerson met with Trump on Thursday. She says, "When the president loses confidence in somebody they will no longer serve in their position."

Administration officials say the White House is developing a plan to replace Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo but the timetable for a change is uncertain. They were not authorized to publicly discuss internal thinking and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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3:35 p.m.

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

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Kelly called Tillerson's chief of staff, Margaret Peterlin, on Thursday to say the "rumors are not true."

Nauert says Tillerson serves at the president's pleasure and remains in his role until told otherwise. She says that Tillerson "brushed this off today" because he's heard such stories before.

Nauert says Tillerson is "going about his business" and will travel to Europe on an official trip starting Monday.

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12:20 p.m.

The White House says Rex Tillerson continues to lead the State Department.

That's after reports that White House officials are discussing a plan to replace Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in what would be a major shake-up of the president's national security team.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there are "no personnel announcements at this time."

She says Tillerson continues to lead the department, and that the entire Cabinet is focused on completing Trump's first year in office.

Tillerson is the former Exxon Mobil CEO who has had tensions with Trump in several foreign policy areas, as well as overwhelmingly negative publicity over plans to reorganize the State Department.

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11:23 a.m.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's office says he's focused is on serving the people of Arkansas in the Senate. That's after reports that he might be picked to run the CIA in a major shake-up of President Donald Trump's national security team.

White House officials confirm a plan is under discussion to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA chief Mike Pompeo, and Pompeo with Cotton. Cotton is a staunch Trump ally who was first elected to the Senate in 2014.

Cotton's office says in a statement, "Senator Cotton's focus is on serving Arkansans in the Senate."

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10:56 a.m.

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

That's according to two administration officials. They were not authorized to publicly discuss internal thinking and spoke on condition of anonymity.

U.S. officials and individuals familiar with White House plans have spoken about the possibility of a broad shakeup in President Donald Trump's national security team. But the timing of such a change is unclear.

Also unclear is whether Pompeo has been approached about the Cabinet reshuffle, but another administration official said he is open to taking the job.

A senior administration official who spoke recently with Tillerson says the former Exxon Mobil CEO felt secure in his position and was focused on his State Department reorganization and other diplomacy matters.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
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