Rex Tillerson, departing Secretary of State, defends his record following firing

Another point of divergence between Tillerson and Pompeo is the worldwide nuclear deal negotiated with Iran in 2015 under former President Barack Obama.

Speculation about Pompeo replacing Tillerson began late previous year, though in recent weeks, Tillerson - who once said he wasn't interested in the job as America's top diplomat and hadn't met Trump before interviewing for the post - seemed to have weathered the storm.

"She does bring continuity after Pompeo", said the former senior intelligence official, noting the two were in accord on strengthening the agency's counterterrorism operations. Trump told reporters he has worked very closely with Haspel and regards her as "an outstanding person".

U.S., British, French and German officials are due to meet on the deal in Berlin on Thursday.

Tillerson didn't thank Trump or mention Trump's name at all - the closest he came was when he noted that he "received a call today from the president of the United States a little after noontime from Air Force One, and I've also spoken to White House chief of staff [John] Kelly to ensure we have clarity as to the days ahead", he said.

They were at odds over Russian Federation. "I think Rex is much happier now".

The remark suggests Tillerson's sacking spells trouble for the agreement, under which Iran surrendered much of its nuclear infrastructure and opened the rest to worldwide inspection in exchange for sanctions relief. USA sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12. He quickly developed a strong relationship with Trump owing to giving daily intelligence briefings to the president himself. The United States, he says, should make "no concessions" in any negotiations.

The undersecretary for public affairs at the State Department, Steve Goldstein, offered a different account of Tillerson's departure. "If confirmed as secretary of state, Director Pompeo must be ready to take a firm line with Vladimir Putin and ensure that the threat Russian Federation poses to our democracy is swiftly addressed".

He said it was the first time the Defence Department and USA military were able to work hand-in-hand with a cohesive diplomatic strategy instead of "16 one-year strategies" to pressure talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. "He is what matters here".

"However, the Senate also has a role to play in this process, and I will carefully evaluate the nominations of Director Pompeo and Deputy Director Haspel as a part of that role".

"Pompeo was a hawk on Iran".

The turnover in senior government officials will likely persist. "People should not jump to conclusions". Skabeeva was not the only one speculating that Trump was under Russian control, with numerous president's critics openly questioning whether there was an ulterior motive behind Tillerson's firing.

Other experts, however, point out that the pick of Pompeo shows that the U.S. is shifting to a tougher stance on North Korea and there is now a higher possibility of a military option against the reclusive regime.

The biggest shakeup of Trump's Cabinet since he took office in January 2017 was announced by the president on Twitter as his administration works toward a potential meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after months of harsh rhetoric and rising tensions on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

"If Pompeo is that hawkish, then in reality all it is the affirmation of Trump's policies. We're always on the same wavelength", Trump said. "Hopefully he'll have the mandate that Tillerson didn't have".

  • Zachary Reyes