President Donald Trump is putting Rex Tillerson and the U.S. State Department on the sidelines when dealing with Iran on the Nuclear Peace Deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama and a coalition of international states.
According to a report from Foreign Policy the move came after a “contentious” meeting between Trump and Tillerson. Trump told a group of staffers to find a “case” that he can use to justify a 90-day review of the deal. His hope is that he can find evidence to declare Tehran is not in compliance with the agreement, something the State Department has failed to do.
“The president assigned White House staffers with the task of preparing for the possibility of decertification for the 90-day review period that ends in October — a task he had previously given to Secretary Tillerson and the State Department,” said one source close to the White House.“This is the president telling the White House that he wants to be in a place to decertify 90 days from now and it’s their job to put him there.”
Three sources, who were invited into the new problem-solving group confirmed the story to FP. Each of them further described the new tactic as a “work around” from the State Department. They further confirmed that Trump asked Tillerson at the last review to “lay the groundwork for decertification.” Tillerson obviously wasn’t able to, so Trump is finding someone who can.
“The president kept demanding why he should certify, and the answers Tillerson gave him infuriated him,” a third source told FP. Trump along with Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka all questioned Tillerson about why recertifying would be good for the U.S. and Tillerson couldn’t answer.
The three sources said it’s too early to tell how this will play out. Tillerson’s communications advisor disputed the story, saying that the idea that Trump plans to sideline Tillerson doesn’t “match up with the conversations the president and secretary had.”
“Not everybody in the room agreed with what the secretary was saying,” said R.C. Hammond. “But the president is certainly appreciative that someone is giving him clear, coherent information.”
This isn’t the only problems that have arisen between the West Wing and the State Department. Just one month ago, Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer tweeted that Tillerson and Gen. James Mattis have been essentially ignoring Trump when it comes to foreign policy.
“He’s not in charge,” Bremmer said of the president.