Mar 13, 2018

State Dept.: Tillerson "is unaware of the reason" for his ouster

Erica Pandey, author of @Work

Tillerson and Trump. Photo: Chris Kleponis, Pool via Bloomberg

The State Department said that Rex Tillerson did not speak to President Trump before the tweeted announcement that Mike Pompeo would replace Tillerson as Secretary of State, adding that Tillerson was "unaware of the reason" for his dismissal. State added that Tillerson "had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security."

How it went down: According to the Washington Post, Tillerson abruptly returned to Washington from a five-day Africa trip after Trump fired him on Friday. But senior State Department officials have been pushing back on that narrative, stating that Tillerson found out about his dismissal via Trump's tweet, per NBC News' Andrea Mitchell.

The full statement from State Department Under Secretary Steve Goldstein...

"The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security. He will miss his colleagues at the Department of State and the foreign ministries he has worked with throughout the world.
The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling.
We wish Secretary Designate Pompeo well."

More on Goldstein, via Axios' Jonathan Swan:

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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.