Trump may replace Tillerson with Pompeo: reports

President Trump is reportedly planning to oust Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonOvernight Defense: Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital | Mattis, Tillerson reportedly opposed move | Pentagon admits 2,000 US troops are in Syria | Trump calls on Saudis to 'immediately' lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE, with CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTillerson: State Dept. 'not missing a beat' despite vacancies Trump considering spy network to combat 'deep state' enemies: Intercept Five things senators should ask Tom Cotton if he’s nominated to lead the CIA MORE potentially replacing him.

The swap could come in the next several weeks, The New York Times reported, citing senior administration officials. Still, the Times added that it is not clear whether Trump has approved the plan, which was devised by chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE.

Some administration officials had in the past suggested Tillerson could be replaced by U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHaley: 'Open question' if US athletes will attend Olympics amid North Korea tensions Haley: Trump isn't deciding who controls east Jerusalem Emergency UN Security Council meeting called after Trump's Jerusalem announcement: report MORE, but Pompeo has become the favorite to take the role due to his rapport with Trump, the Times reports.

The Associated Press also reported that the Pompeo swap is under consideration.

Under the plan, Sen. Tom CottonTom CottonGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Grassley offers DACA fix tied to tough enforcement measures Five things senators should ask Tom Cotton if he’s nominated to lead the CIA MORE (R-Ark.) would replace Pompeo as CIA chief once Pompeo is moved to the State Department.

Cotton is expected to take the CIA job if offered, according to the Times. A spokeswoman for Cotton said his focus is on serving Arkansas in the Senate. 

Tensions between Trump and Tillerson have been brewing for months.

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Earlier this year, Tillerson denied an NBC News report that top Trump administration officials, including Vice President Pence, had urged him not to step down from the State Department.

 

"The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of State because I have never considered leaving," Tillerson said.

Tillerson, at the time, refused to directly address the report that he referred to Trump as a "moron," saying that he would not “deal with petty stuff like that.”

Trump and Tillerson have also clashed over other issues.

In October, Trump rejected the idea of negotiating with the North Korean regime, saying he told Tillerson he is "wasting his time trying to negotiation with Little Rocket Man."

"Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Trump tweeted at the time.

Tillerson reportedly wanted to remain in his position until the end of the year "to retain whatever dignity he could," according to the Times.

This story was updated at 10:46 a.m.