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Issued: 2018-03-13

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor For

Published: 08:52 EDT, 13 March 2018 | Updated: 09:21 EDT, 13 March 2018


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President Donald Trump fired his secretary of state on Tuesday, announcing on Twitter that he would elevate his spymaster to the role of global diplomat-in-chief.

And he said he will appoint a woman to lead the CIA for the first time in history.

'Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!' the president tweeted.

'Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!'


You're fired: Rex Tillerson was abruptly fired by Donald Trump on Tuesday morning in a single tweet

Replacement: Mike Pompeo, who had been CIA director, will now lead the State Department

Sudden move: Trump also announced the elevation of Gina Haspel to CIA Director, the first time the post has been held by a woman. The career officer had a clandestine career and was its deputy director

Haspel was the CIA's deputy director, a career officer who was a longtime clandestine officer.

In a statement, Trump said Pompeo 'graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with Honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle.'

He called Haspel's move to the CIA's reins 'a historic milestone.'

Trump also had words of praise for Tillerson: 'A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well,' he said.

The president, however, had clashed with Tillerson over and over again in the past year, seeing him as a relic of the Republican establishment at a time when the nation needed more unconventional thinking.

The Washington Post reported that Tillerson was ousted on Friday, meaning that the White House known best for leaking information kept it a secret all weekend.

The outgoing diplomat's last act in office was a shot across Vladimir Putin's bow, saying Monday that the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in the UK 'clearly came from Russia' – and vowing to respond – hours after the White House refused to blame the Kremlin.

In a strongly worded statement, he slammed Russia as an 'irresponsible force of instability in the world' and gave the British government his backing after Prime Minister Theresa May pointed her own finger toward Moscow.

'We have full confidence in the UK's investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that took place in Salisbury last week,' Tillerson said Monday.

Victim: Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in a pizza restaurant in Salisbury, in south-west England and Rex Tillerson publicly blamed Vladimir Putin's Russia for the attack on Monday, something the White House had pointedly not done

Key figure: Trump repeatedly crossed swords with Rex Tillerson, including a public episode in October where the president chided him on Twitter for 'wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man' – a reference to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un - which Trump is now going to do face-to-face

Final meeting: Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari was the last world leader to receive Tillerson as he wrapped up a swing through Africa


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