U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there was no truth in reports that the White House had a plan to fire him and replace him with CIA chief Mike Pompeo.
Directly addressing the issue at a news conference at NATO, Tillerson dismissed last week’s reports that have overshadowed his week-long trip to Europe, as allies yearn for stability in U.S. foreign policy.
“This is a narrative that keeps coming up about every six weeks and I would say you need to get some new sources because your story keeps being wrong,” he told reporters when asked whether the White House was pushing him out.
While Trump said last week he was not leaving and Tillerson said the reports were “laughable”, Trump has also said he alone determines U.S. foreign policy, saying in a tweet on Friday: “I call the final shots.”
In a trip that will also take him to Vienna and Paris, Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil Corp chief executive who has been at odds with Trump over issues such as North Korea, has sought to reassure European governments and U.S. diplomats that he is in control.
In Brussels on Tuesday, Tillerson said the U.S. State Department, which still has top positions unmanned, was “in a much better position to advance America’s interests around the world than we were 10 months ago.”
Under the White House plan reported by Reuters and other media last week, Tillerson would be replaced within weeks by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist and foreign policy hard-liner, under a White House plan to carry out the most significant staff shake-up so far of the Trump administration.
U.S. Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress, would be tapped to replace Pompeo at the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said.
Tillerson, 65, has spent much of his tenure trying to smooth the rough edges of the “America First” foreign policy that has alarmed Trump’s allies, but the president has publicly undercut the secretary of state’s diplomatic initiatives.
At the EU and NATO this week, Tillerson espoused a more traditional U.S. foreign policy, defending the Iran nuclear deal agreed by world powers in 2015, warning of a more assertive Russia and saying he had become “quite close” with Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska and Ken Ferris)
‘Martyrdom for snowflakes’: CNN analyst knocks Republicans who desperately wanted to be arrested at protest
CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.
Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told "there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse."
Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of "martyrdom for snowflakes."
Seth Meyers says Republicans storming classified room looked like a protest at a pharmacy that ran out of Viagra
"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers couldn't help but lambast the far-right Republicans angry that they're not being included in the depositions ahead of the impeachment hearings.
Wednesday, Republicans stormed a secure room known as a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), because they seemed to misunderstand the difference between a deposition and a hearing. In Congressional hearings, witnesses will be presented for members of the committee to question. In a classified deposition, the witness can give information that is considered classified for security reasons. Oddly, some members who are allowed in the room were also protesting.
WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado
CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.
"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."