Why was Rex Tillerson fired? Think North Korea

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President Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson Tuesday and is replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

While Tillerson has been critical of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and its intervention from Ukraine to Syria, Pompeo has at times bolstered Trump's view that inquiries into Russian election meddling is a "witch hunt" meant to undercut his presidency.

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

ABC News will also have additional details. In February 2017, for example, The Washington Post's Carol Morello and Anne Gearan reported that "the Trump administration in its first month has largely benched the State Department from its long-standing role as the preeminent voice of US foreign policy, curtailing public engagement and official travel and relegating Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to a mostly offstage role".

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!"

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Senior State Department officials said Mr Tillerson was unaware of why Mr Trump pushed him out and that he had meant to stay in the job.

"He represented a stable view with regard to the implementation of diplomacy in North Korea, Iran and other places in the world", said Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during most of Tillerson's tenure at State. "With Mike Pompeo, we have a similar thought process".

"I felt like, look, I just need to get back", Mr Tillerson told reporters on his plane home, reports the Washington Post.

"The secretary will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and enjoyed working together with the Department of Defense in an uncommonly robust relationship", he added, in a nod to Tillerson's close working relationship with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

Mr Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Mr Trump's announcement. "A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well".

What Can Be Done for a Nuclear Deal with North Korea?
They also dismissed criticism that Mr Trump's decision to meet elevated the North Korean leader on an global stage. In Beijing, Mr Xi told Mr Chung that the Korean peninsula faces an opportunity for talks to ease the situation.

The White House distanced itself from those remarks, and a few days later, Tillerson himself backed off. The two also disagreed on whether the USA should remain part of the Iran deal brokered in 2015 to stop the country's development of nuclear weapons.

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. While that may have improved the standing of an agency Trump attacked repeatedly during his presidential campaign and the transition, it also raised concerns about Pompeo's commitment to keep the CIA free of politics.

Mr Tillerson joined a long list of senior officials who have either resigned or been fired since Mr Trump took office in January 2017. He's about to meet with North Korea, the Russian threat continues to pervade the globe, and key ambassadorships go empty. In October, NBC reported that Tillerson called the president a "moron" following a meeting in July.

Others include strategist Steve Bannon, national security adviser Michael Flynn, FBI Director James Comey, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, health secretary Tom Price, communications directors Hope Hicks and Anthony Scaramucci, economic adviser Gary Cohn and press secretary Sean Spicer.

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