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Rex Tillerson. Photo: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a press conference on Tuesday that he "received a call today from the President of the United States a little after noon time." Trump tweeted about Tillerson's dismissal at 8:44am. In closing, Tillerson said he thanked the "300 plus million Americans...for your devotion to a free and open society, to acts of kindness toward one another, to honesty." He took no questions.

Catch up quick: Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would replace Tillerson. The State Department issued a statement shortly after that said Tillerson was unaware of the reason he was fired. Trump said he made the decision by himself.

Parting words:

  • On North Korea: Tillerson said the department “exceeded expectations” with the maximum pressure campaign on North Korea.
  • "While progress has been made, much work remains," citing the situation in Syria and with respect to achieving peace and seeing a "healthy government installed," as well as ousting ISIS.
  • On Russia: "Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation."
  • "I close by thanking all for the privilege of serving beside you for the last 14 months."
  • "I'm proud of the opportunity I've had to serve my country. God bless all of you. God bless the American people. God bless America."

Tillerson will delegate his responsibilities to his deputy, and his final official day will be March 31st.

Go deeper:

  1. The long road to Tillerson's ouster
  2. Where they have disagreed before
  3. The conflicting reports of how Tillerson learned he was fired
  4. Pompeo's foreign policy
  5. Meet Pompeo's replacement at the CIA

Go deeper

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Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

Progressives pressure Schumer to end filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

A progressive coalition is pressuring Chuck Schumer on his home turf by running a digital billboard in Times Square urging the new majority leader to end the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Schumer is up for re-election in 2o22 and could face a challenger, and he's also spearheading his party's broader effort to hold onto its narrow congressional majorities.

5 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.