The White House fired one of Rex Tillerson's top aides after he contradicted the official account of how and when the secretary of State was dismissed by President Trump.
Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, was told of his dismissal shortly after he released a statement to reporters saying that Tillerson had been “unaware of the reason” for his firing. Goldstein told reporters that Tillerson learned of his firing Tuesday morning when Trump announced the move on Twitter.
In a statement, Goldstein said that “serving as the Under Secretary of State has been the honor of a lifetime. I am grateful to the President and to Secretary Tillerson for having had this opportunity.”
President Trump has fired his White House personal assistant, John McEntee, who had been with the president since early in his campaign, an administration official confirmed Tuesday. The president's campaign then announced McEntee will rejoin the campaign as a senior advisor of operations.
Trump has had a record rate of turnover in his senior staff. Before McEntee's departure, 43% of the president's executive staff had left in the first 13 1/2 months. McEntee's departure was overshadowed by the news that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him. Gina Haspel — the deputy director at the CIA — will succeed Pompeo at the CIA, becoming the first woman to run the spy agency, if confirmed.
Eager for vindication in the ongoing Russian investigations, President Trump on Tuesday praised House Republicans who said there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russians.
“We are very, very happy with that decision,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “It was a powerful decision that left no doubts.”
The conclusions, which were detailed by the Republicans who run the House Intelligence Committee, were immediately criticized by Democrats, who said the panel had not conducted a thorough enough investigation.
Equifax Inc. was publicly excoriated by senators last fall for its massive data breach. Now, the company and other credit reporting firms are in line to get some last-minute benefits in a banking deregulation bill that originally was designed to punish them by adding new consumer rights.
U.S. Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said Tuesday he believes victory in Afghanistan is still possible — not necessarily on the battlefield but in facilitating a Taliban reconciliation with the Afghan government.
Mattis spoke shortly before arriving in Kabul, where security concerns were so high that reporters traveling with him were not allowed to publish stories until his party had moved from the Kabul airport to the U.S.-led military coalition's headquarters. That was the first such restriction on coverage of a Pentagon chief's visit in memory.
Mattis said he would be meeting with President Ashraf Ghani and top U.S. commanders.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has again butted heads with the Trump administration by proclaiming that the poison attack on a Russian dissident in Britain clearly appeared to be the work of Moscow.
Tillerson, traveling in Africa, said Monday he had “full confidence” in the British government investigation that indicated that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack that sickened former Russia spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Father and daughter were in England, and an attack on them tied to Russia would be a major international incident. Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning.
White House officials ratcheted up their fight with California politicians over immigration policies ahead of President Trump’s visit Tuesday, briefing reporters Monday night on what they called “misconceptions” being propagated by leading Democrats in the state.
Thomas D. Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, took particular exception to a comment by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, who contended last week that the administration was engaged in “cowardly attacks” against immigrants when the Justice Department sued the state over its immigration laws.
“Her quotes were just beyond the pale,” Homan said, taking Pelosi’s words as an attack on immigration officers.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, blamed Russia and its allies Monday for violating a humanitarian ceasefire in Syria, and excoriated the U.N. Security Council for failing to guarantee the truce.
Haley also warned that the Trump administration “remains prepared to act,” as it did last April when U.S. missiles were fired at a Syrian government airbase that was used to drop nerve gas on civilians.
"It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again," Haley told the Security Council, which met in special session. "When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action."
President Trump plans to host Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House next week, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Monday.
Prince Mohammed attracted controversy in November when he orchestrated a purge of dozens of people, including sitting cabinet members and a fellow prince. The move was seen as an effort to consolidate power. The regime portrayed the sweep as a crackdown on corruption and an effort to attract foreign investment and reduce the country’s historic dependence on oil.
Sanders declined to say whether Trump would raise human rights issues with the heir to the throne.