Trump may replace Tillerson with Pompeo: reports

President Trump is reportedly planning to oust Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonPompeo jokes he'll be secretary of State until Trump 'tweets me out of office' Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job Trump administration’s top European diplomat to resign in February MORE, with CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS sanctions Venezuelan bank after Guaidó aide's arrest The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game 2020 Dems avoid this year's AIPAC conference 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) HaleyPentagon sends B-52 bombers to Europe for exercises amid tensions with Russia Overnight Health Care: Trump officials sued over Medicaid work requirements in New Hampshire | Analysis contradicts HHS claims on Arkansas Medicaid changes | Azar signals HHS won't back down on e-cigs 40 years of Iranian threats against Israel and few pay any attention 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 CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate rejects border declaration in major rebuke of Trump Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court 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.