Washington (November ) The White House is contemplating a scenario to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo within the next few months, said multiple government officials.
The vacancy at the CIA would likely be filled, according to the tentative plan, by Sen. Tom Cotton, a hawkish Arkansas Republican, the sources said.
There’s no decision yet on the timing of Tillerson’s departure, which has been expected for months. But multiple sources close to the White House and across government said Pompeo is the leading candidate to take over at the State Department.
President Donald Trump offered, “He’s here, Rex is here,” when asked if he wants Tillerson to stay on the job by reporters at the White House Thursday after the news broke of the potential exit plan.
“As the President just said, ‘Rex is here,’ ” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, adding that the administration has no personnel announcements to make.
Tillerson’s departure has been widely rumored for months, with attention focused on Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as his likely replacement.
But Pompeo, a former three-term member of Congress, has increasingly moved to the forefront as he has gained Trump’s trust on national security matters.