President Trump may move CIA Director Mike Pompeo into Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s role, according to The New York Times.
The Times on Thursday reported that the the White House has developed a plan to force out Tillerson, who has an increasingly tense relationship with Trump.
Senior administration officials on Thursday told The Times that the plan has Pompeo replacing Tillerson, perhaps within the next several weeks.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who has been a major ally to Trump on national security issues, would then fill Pompeo’s shoes at the CIA.
The Times’ sources said that Cotton has signaled he would accept the role if it were offered to him.
“Senator Cotton’s focus is on serving Arkansas in the Senate,” spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt Tabler said when asked about the possible change.
The plan would implement the shakeup of Trump’s national security team sometime before 2017 ends or shortly afterwards.
White House chief of staff John Kelly developed the transition strategy and has discussed it with other administration officials.
Trump is said to have soured on Tillerson, and the president is also noted to generally desire an overhaul at the State Department.
Tillerson’s exit has been widely anticipated for months, but his associates have said he planned on finishing out the year to keep whatever dignity remains available.
The secretary of State leaving by 2017’s end would make his tenure in the role the shortest of any whose time was not finished by a change in presidents in about 120 years.
Tillerson last month denied he had ever considered resigning as secretary of State amid reports he had considered doing so earlier in the year.
NBC News reported in October that Tillerson also called Trump a “moron” during a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon over the administration’s Afghanistan strategy.
Vice President Mike Pence reportedly intervened in tensions between both men, convincing Tillerson to remain America’s top diplomat.