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White House downplays Trump's meeting with John Bolton

The White House on Thursday downplayed speculation that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE could be eyeing former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton for a position in his administration. 

Bolton is scheduled to meet with Trump later Thursday, days after news reports surfaced the White House has a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Overnight Tech: Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up hack | Apple considers battery rebates | Regulators talk bitcoin | SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket Overnight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach MORE

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Bolton is simply “a friend of the president” and described the meeting as “nothing more than a check in and a friendly visit.”

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News reports last week indicated that the White House is looking to replace Tillerson, with whom Trump has frequently clashed, with CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Trump must send Russia powerful message through tougher actions Beyond sanctions: On Russia policy, Congress should focus on new tools MORE.

Bolton was considered for several high-ranking posts during the presidential transition but ultimately did not take a job.