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    Rex Tillerson: White House dismisses reports of replacement

    The White House has dismissed reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is about to be replaced.

    The US top diplomat “continues to lead the state department”, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

    And a state department spokeswoman said the reports “were not true”.

    The denials come amid reports from several news organisations, citing unnamed administration officials, that plans were being drawn up to replace him with CIA chief Mike Pompeo.

    President Donald Trump and Mr Tillerson have disagreed on foreign policy issues and are said not to get on.

    Where are the reports coming from?

    They first emerged in the New York Times and Vanity Fair, which quoted government sources.

    The Associated Press then quoted two unnamed White House officials as saying a plan was being discussed.

    Now Reuters news agency, too, is quoting sources within the administration.

    Under the alleged plan, Mr Pompeo would be replaced at the CIA by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, and the reshuffle could take place as soon as December or in January.

    However, it is not yet clear whether Mr Trump has given final approval to the move, the New York Times says.

    How is the Trump administration reacting?

    Business as usual is the watchword.

    “As the president just said: ‘Rex is here,'” Ms Sanders said.

    “There are no personnel announcements at this time.

    “Secretary Tillerson continues to lead the state department and the entire cabinet is focused on completing this incredibly successful first year of President Trump’s administration.”

    In a later briefing, Ms Sanders added: “When the president loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve here.”


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