What you need to know now

  • President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
  • CIA Director Mike Pompeo is Trump’s pick to replace Tillerson.
  • Gina Haspel, CIA deputy director, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the CIA.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee head talked to Trump last week. He didn’t see Tillerson’s firing coming.

From CNN’s Lauren Fox and Daniella Diaz

Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he talked to the President on Friday about North Korea and “other issues.” He didn’t get a sense from Friday’s call that the Tillerson firing was coming.

Corker said he heard about Tillerson’s ousting from reporters today. He said he didn’t know what the final straw was.

Corker hasn’t talked to Tillerson yet today, but said he plans on speaking to the former Secretary of State later today. He last spoke to Tillerson on Thursday about North Korea.

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Mike Pompeo has known for months that he’d transition into the State Department

From CNN’s Jenna McLaughlin and Jim Sciutto

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has known since December that he would ultimately be transitioning into a new role at State, a source close to Pompeo and a separate intelligence source told CNN. Pompeo spoke with members of his staff just yesterday to work on transitioning behind the scenes.

CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel, who Trump is nominating to replace Pompeo, has been running the day-to-day at the agency for months now, according to former and current CIA officials and a former White House official with knowledge of the matter. Pompeo, meanwhile, has spent a lot of time at the White House.

One former CIA official said that the move is “good for both places” — meaning the CIA and State. The official said, “Haspel is a pro’s pro.”

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Some Democrats are already concerned about Mike Pompeo’s nomination

President Trump nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the next Secretary of State.

He needs to be confirmed by the Senate before he can take the role — and several Democrats are already expressing concern over his nomination.

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal: “There has to be very very penetrating serious scrutiny of his record both at the CIA and before. I voted against him for director of the CIA because of very strong concerns about his record and I will apply the same scrutiny again.”
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy: “I have not been happy as his job as CIA Director.”
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “I do not think he is the type of leader we need as Secretary of State.”

Trump was asked if he fired Tillerson over the “moron” comment. He didn’t answer.

President Trump was asked if he fired Rex Tillerson because the former Secretary of State called him a “moron” last summer.

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But Trump didn’t give an answer. Here’s the exchange earlier today:

Reporter: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

Trump: What?

Reporter: Did you fire him because he called you a moron?

Trump: Say it again.

March 13, 2018 11:37am EDT

Trump was asked if he fired Rex Tillerson because he called him a “moron.” He didn’t answer.  http://snpy.tv/2p9te20 

Senate confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson’s replacement will be next month

From CNN’s Phil Mattingly and Nicole Gaouette

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee expects to begin confirmation proceedings for Mike Pompeo in April, according to a statement from committee chairman Bob Corker.

Pompeo is currently the Director of the CIA. He was confirmed to that position in January 2017 with a vote of 66 to 32.



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