Aug 28, 2017

Tillerson switcheroo may happen sooner than expected

Mike Allen, author of AM

Fox News Sunday

As of last night, we were told that no replacement of SecState Rex Tillerson is imminent. But some switcheroo may happen sooner than expected, given the jaw-dropping reporting by Axios' Jonathan Swan last evening in his weekly Sneak Peek newsletter:

Trump is getting more and more fed up with Tillerson and recently said: "Rex just doesn't get it, he's totally establishment in his thinking."

One possible scenario for replacing Tillerson: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley moves to Foggy Bottom. Then Deputy Secretary National Security Adviser Dina Powell could be promoted to Haley's job in New York, where Powell's family lives.

On "Fox News Sunday," Tillerson became the second top Trump official in three days (after economic adviser Gary Cohn) to distance himself on-record from Trump's Charlottesville response:

  • Tillerson: "I don't believe anyone doubts the American people's values or the commitment of the American government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values."
  • Chris Wallace: "And the president's values?"
  • Tillerson: "The president speaks for himself, Chris."
  • Wallace: "Are you separating yourself from that, sir?"
  • Tillerson: "I've made my own comments as to our vales as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week."

Responding to Swan's article, Philippe Reines, a top State Department official under Hillary Clinton, tweeted: "Going out in a limb here but I don't think Rex gives a damn anymore what the President & White House thinks of him."

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.