Trump fires Rex Tillerson as secretary of state

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President Trump announced the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Tuesday morning but according to the State Department, Tillerson didn't see it coming and hasn't spoken directly to the President.

"The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason" he was sacked, said Steve Goldstein, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and Public Affairs in a statement to ABC News.

Speculation that Tillerson would be fired grew with those reports last fall, and the secretary of state never personally denied their accuracy. "When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's bad and he thinks it's okay", Trump said. He was also one of the strongest critics of the Iran nuclear deal.

"He dived into policy matters in a way that unnerved many professionals at the agency", the official added,"and morale was taking a blow that was spreading from the analytical side, where some people feared he was tailoring some PDBs (President's Daily Briefs intelligence assessments presented to the president) to tell Trump what he wanted to hear rather than what the intelligence assessments were".

"Congratulations to all!" the president said.

The reshuffle comes at a time of intense turnover within Trump's administration that has alarmed those both in and out of the White House.

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Mr. Trump released a statement saying he was "proud" to nominate Pompeo to replace Tillerson. During that meeting Trump had called for an increase in America's nuclear weapons stockpiles in contravention of global treaties.

Both the new secretary of state and Central Intelligence Agency director will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

The top USA diplomat's team said he was feeling unwell on Saturday and later in the weekend the state department said he would cut short his tour by a day. Trump tweeted, "He will do a fantastic job!" "I really appreciate his service. It was a different thinking".

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, Mr Trump said his differences with Mr Tillerson came down to personal "chemistry".

Current and former officials said Pompeo was likely to get along better with Congress and with the White House, not least because of his conservative bent. In a remarkable statement, the State Department made clear that Tillerson did not quit, saying he "had every intention of remaining", and is "unaware of the reason" for his dismissal.

Tillerson "had every intention of staying" at his job before he was sacked.

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As Mr. Trump departed for a California trip Tuesday morning, he told reporters that he and Tillerson "disagree on things", and he singled out the Iran nuclear deal as an issue.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Pompeo "has earned the praise of members in both parties by strengthening our intelligence gathering, modernizing our defensive and offensive capabilities, and building close ties with our friends and allies in the global intelligence community", the president said in a statement.

A senior White House official said Mr Trump asked Tillerson to step down on Friday but did not want to make it public while he was on a trip to Africa. There were no obvious signs from his behavior or his aides on the plane that his departure was imminent. A CIA spokesman said when asked about the issue previous year that Pompeo's decision was aimed at stopping the "dangerous leaks and insider threats" that he saw emanating from the agency when he was a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

"We're a long way from negotiations", Tillerson said.

The president has accepted an invitation, conveyed by South Korea, to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un within the next two months to discuss denuclearization. The sources weren't authorized to speak publicly and demanded anonymity.

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