International

White House says it informed Tillerson of firing decision beforehand


WASHINGTON, March 16 (Xinhua) — The White House spokesperson Raj Shah said
on Wednesday that the White House “did” inform U.S. State Secretary Rex
Tillerson of the decision of President Donald Trump to sack him beforehand.

Shah said Tillerson was informed earlier on Friday. U.S. Under Secretary of
State Steve Goldstein said on Tuesday that Tillerson “is unaware of the
reason” for him being dismissed. “I wouldn’t speculate on what Secretary
Tillerson’s perspective was but I would just say he was informed of the
president’s decision on Friday,” said Shah. The Republican senator Rand
Paul said on Wednesday that he would oppose Trump’s nomination of Jina
Haspel to replace Mike Pompeo, the current CIA chief, accusing her of
having shown “joyful glee” during the torture of terrorism suspects.  “To
really appoint the head cheerleader for waterboarding to be head of the
CIA?” Paul told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I mean, how could you trust
somebody who did that to be in charge of the CIA? To read of her glee
during the waterboarding is just absolutely appalling.”

Paul also announced to try to block the nomination of Pompeo to succeed
Tillerson. Shah responded by saying that Pompeo, Trump’s new pick for
Tillerson’s job, will “make a fabulous secretary of state. He’ll receive
broad bipartisan support.”  Pompeo’s deputy and successor Jina Haspel
reportedly has played a direct role in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition
program,” under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments
and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency
personnel.  Asked about Haspel’s controversial history, Shah only said “her
background will be evaluated like all people’s backgrounds are during the
confirmation process.”Trump on Tuesday announced Pompeo to replace
Tillerson, and Haspel would lead the CIA team in the future.