Senate confirmation disputes expected on Trump's State, CIA picks

Marie Harrington
March 15, 2018

Charlie Dent on Wednesday said that President Donald Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was handled in a "deplorable" way.

The elevation of Deputy Director of the CIA Gina Haspel, a 30-year veteran of the agency, to be its first female director is both historic and wise.

Japan "would want a secretary of state to be influential to the president", said Yasushi Watanabe, a professor and American studies expert at Keio University. After Mr Tillerson refused to issue an explicit denial of "morongate", Mr Trump suggested the two men took IQ tests-"and I can tell you who's going to win". I think these were larger issues that had been percolating for some time.

He said that could include seeking the Trump administration's strategies for dealing with Iran, Syria, Russia and North Korea. Trump was reportedly particularly irked with Tillerson over his negative news coverage, according to the Post.

"Some of those strong people at the top, I think they try to check the president's worst impulses", said Kaine, noting that reports indicate that Tillerson tried to encourage Trump to stay in the Paris climate agreement.

The move stunned Mr Tillerson, 65, who joined the administration after about four decades at ExxonMobil without having a previous relationship with Mr Trump.

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And, as Trump noted Tuesday, he and Pompeo have a "similar thought process" on the Iran deal, which Trump has threatened to abandon unless there are significant changes by May. Lindsey Graham, an establishment Republican and initial Tillerson backer, said Tuesday, after Trump announced via tweet that Pompeo would replace Tillerson.

However, Maeshima said Japanese officials may face some difficulties in immediately building from scratch a good relationship with Pompeo after working to craft close bonds with Tillerson. Referencing the departure of many senior diplomats, Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, said Pompeo will "need to recruit and fill the many offices that have been left vacant". "And then we will continue to have discussions about how to achieve that denuclearization". Graham also pointed out that as Central Intelligence Agency director, Pompeo has been busily circling the globe and establishing relationships that he will now be able to call on as America's top diplomat. James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was the first; Rex Tillerson is the latest.

Torture has since been explicitly outlawed by the government, and despite Trump's endorsement of it, there have been no reports of the U.S. intelligence agencies returning to the practice.

This appointment came just after he agreed to talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. And there are the refugees - those who either joined the Trump bandwagon late or were never on it in the first place, who held or obtained leading positions elsewhere in the Washington bureaucracy and who have now fled the administration.

"President Trump is determined to prevent that from happening in North Korea", Pompeo told CBS.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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