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  1. President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet after just over a year in office
  2. Tillerson said Trump called him from Air Force One three hours after the announcement
  3. The two differed on policy over North Korea and Iran, and reports he called Trump a moron
  4. CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been appointed to replace Tillerson

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Live coverage concludes

Only hours after arriving back in Washington from a diplomatic tour of Africa, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson learned through a presidential tweet that he was being replaced.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo - a former ultra-conservative congressman - has been nominated by the president to replace the top US diplomat.

Pompeo's deputy at the CIA, Gina Haspel, has been named to become the next American spymaster.

Both Pompeo and Haspel must be confirmed by the Senate before they can take up their new roles.

If confirmed, Haspel - who ran US "black sites" where terror suspects were tortured - will become the first female director of the agency.

As for Tillerson, he told reporters he plans to "return to private life as a private citizen", and will presumably enjoy a comfortable retirement with his pension from ExxonMobil, where he was formerly CEO.

For more read our main news story here:

Trump fires Rex Tillerson as secretary of state

Muslim group decries 'Islamobic nominee' and 'torturer'

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim lobbying organisation in the US, has released a statement opposing the nominations of Pompeo and Haspel.

"Those, like Mr Pompeo, who have expressed Islamophobic views and have been associated with an anti-Muslim hate group, or like Ms Haspel, who personally oversaw the torture of detainees, should have no role in our nation's government, let alone at the highest levels of policy-making," the group's director said in a statement.

Top Democrat responds


Senator Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, says Tillerson was "not close to tough enough" on Russia, a country that had previously given the sacked secretary of state an honour called the Russian Order of Friendship.

Schumer added that he has not called on his Democratic colleauges to oppose the nominations of Pompeo and Haspel.

He says he wants to hear from them first before deciding whether to try to block their appointments.

State department staff: 'Hallelujah'

"On Tillerson: hallelujah!" one Department of State employee told the Daily Beast.

"Tillerson kept a lot of the crazy in check and was obviously a moderating voice. But he never had the ear of" the president, another official at the department adds.

Foggy Bottom employees are said to be both grateful for and fearful about the Washington shake-up.

Tillerson had made it a priority to slash funding for state department programmes, as well as staff numbers, making many enemies inside the agency.

Mike Pompeo has a better relationship with the US president, but is considered one of Washington's most hawkish figures.

"Pompeo will have the president’s trust but enable his worst foreign policy instincts," a current diplomat tells the news website.

"Sanity has never been the guiding principle of this White House."

Watch Tillerson's farewell remarks

Rex Tillerson: 'I will now return to private life'

'Rex exed by text'

The sudden ousting of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ignited Twitter, the president's chosen medium for delivering the news.

Given that Trump became a household name hosting US television show The Apprentice, some joked about his apparent reluctance to deploy in person the programme's famous catchphrase: "You're fired!"

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Others drew comparisons to Mr Comey's departure.

For more social reaction, check out our story here.

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'Secretary of Stay'

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein, who was fired today for contradicting the White House account of how Tillerson was fired, spoke to the BBC last week.

He dismissed reports that Tillerson was on shaky ground, calling him the "Secretary of Stay".

Tillerson sacking: Rex's aides never saw it coming either

'Strong relief' at Department of State

While Tillerson just lavished fulsome praise on the department he led, the admiration was apparently not mutual.

State Department staff are reportedly experiencing a "strong sense of relief" that he is out.

"The last year has been traumatic to put it mildly. It was as though 'T-Rex' stomped through Foggy Bottom devouring staff and structures," Brett Bruen, a former State Department official, told Politico.

Since coming into office, Trump has largely sidelined the diplomatic agency, choosing to conduct international affairs from the White House.

“People see this as a chance for a clean sweep,” said another employee, who wished to remain anonymous.

According to the newspaper, Department of State staff view Pompeo as personally closer to Trump and more likely to help them gain influence.

'Returning to private life'

Tillerson read from his statement, and did not take any questions

"I now return to private life, as a private citizen, as a proud American," says Tillerson, who read from his statement the entire time.

He did not take any questions, and walked off stage quickly.

Several commentators suggested he appeared to be out of breath as he made his dignified remarks, which did not refer to the abrupt manner of his sacking.

Tillerson criticises Russia

He says Washington must do more to respond to Russia's "troubling behaviour and actions".

"Russia must assess carefully how its actions are in the best interest of the Russian people and the world more broadly."

"Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation," says Tillerson.

Tillerson on his tenure

Tillerson is outlining his diplomatic achievements during his tenure and remaining in-tray items, from Syria to the Islamic State group.

"US leadership starts with diplomacy," he says.

"The rewarding part of having leadership and partnerships in place is you can actually get some things done," he says before going on to praise US allies.

Tillerson pays tribute to colleagues

Addressing his fellow government workers, Tillerson says: "We all took the same oath of office.

"We are all bound by the common commitment, to support and defend the constitution.

"We remain steadfast here in Washington and at posts across the world.

"The world needs selfless leaders like these."

BreakingTillerson spoke to Trump

Tillerson says he received a call from the president on Air Force One a little after noon, about three hours after Mr Trump announced his firing via tweet.

"What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges," Tillerson says.

He adds that he is stepping down on 31 March and delegating all his responsibilities to his deputy.

The odd couple of politics no more

Jon Sopel

BBC North America Editor

The end was a perfect metaphor for the relationship. The odd couple of politics had been yoked together for too long.

Men of different temperaments, demeanour and style had reached a parting of the ways.

The secretary of state landed back at Joint Base Andrews to have a member of staff inform him that the president had tweeted.

Because Mr Tillerson is not on Twitter, the tweet had to be printed out. Fancy being the one tasked with handing that over to the boss. Fired by a tweet.

The career of a one-time giant of corporate America had come to an ignominious end.

Read Jon Sopel's full blog post here:

Tillerson sacking: Where it went wrong for Rex

BreakingTillerson to speak soon

Sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will hold a press briefing from the State Department at 14:00 local time (18:00 GMT). Stay tuned for live updates.

How Tillerson fell

Barbara Plett Usher

State Department correspondent, BBC News

Rex Tillerson had a difficult tenure defined by his rocky relationship with President Trump.

Rumours of his ouster swirled late last year.

They had died down in recent months, until, with shocking abruptness, Trump fired his top diplomat via Twitter, just hours after he got back from a trip to Africa.

Senior state department officials said Tillerson had been warned something was coming, but he only learned what exactly it was when he read the tweet.

Things didn’t go very well for Rex Tillerson. As the head of Exxon he came into the job with a lot of foreign negotiating experience, but none in government, and none with diplomacy.

Under his watch there was an exodus of veteran diplomats and expertise.

He did better on the diplomacy side, taking an establishment Republican line in crafting policies and ready to counsel against Mr Trump’s instincts on issues such as Iran and North Korea.

But the two men have very different personalities, and the tension in their relationship was not diffused after Tillerson reportedly called the president a "moron".

That was a very low point, but Tillerson had worked on the relationship since then, and it seemed to be improving.

In the end Trump chose to replace him with Mike Pompeo, with whom the president has a personal chemistry.

Pompeo is a hawk on Iran and has spoken belligerently about North Korea.

He will work closely now with Trump on the fate of the Iran deal, and the forthcoming historic summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

BreakingTillerson aide fired

According to state department journalists, Under Secretary Steve Goldstein - who told reporters this morning that Tillerson was unaware he was being fired until he was alerted by Trump's tweet - has now been fired by the White House.

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Fired for having a 'different point of view'

Trump and Feinstein
Getty Images

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin said in a statement that "Tillerson’s firing is symptomatic of President Trump’s inability to take independent advice from his advisers".

The Maryland senator adds that he voted against Pompeo as CIA director because of his view that Guantanamo Bay should stay open, but he is now "hopeful that after his time at the CIA, Director Pompeo has a greater appreciation for the balance between national security and civil rights".

Senator Chris Coons - also a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - said he does not "believe that President Trump ever gave [Tillerson] the trust, personnel and resources he needed to be effective as the nation’s top diplomat".

"Tillerson's firing comes one day after he once again spoke out against Russia when the President would not," Coons adds referring to the poisoned Russian former spy who is in a coma after suffering a biological attack in southern England.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein said Tillerson was dismissed simply for having a "different point of view" than the president.

British reaction

Theresa May

"We are grateful for the excellent relationship and co-operation that we have had with Rex Tillerson and look forward to that continuing under the new US Secretary of State," says a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Rex Tillerson at a glance

Tillerson graphic

CIA under Haspel: A return to dark practices?

Tara McKelvey

BBC News, White House

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Gina Haspel, upon confirmation, will lead the Central Intelligence Agency

With Pompeo moving on to the secretary of state position, Trump announced his intention to fill the CIA director post with Gina Haspel, a career intelligence officer with more than 30 years of experience.

The White House shakeup has profound implications - particularly for the CIA.

The agency's work is conducted with nominal oversight, and many decisions hinge on the discretion of the director.

This morning the president spoke approvingly of the acting director, Haspel, pointing out that she's a woman in a high leadership position.

As an intelligence officer, she was known for her harsh views: she ran a notorious black site in Thailand, a place where prisoners were waterboarded.

She's now working for a president who's been ambivalent about the matter. He said in the past he wanted to bring back waterboarding.

James Mattis, the defence secretary, convinced him otherwise.

Who's to say the president wouldn't change his mind again - if Haspel and other intelligence officials persuaded him it was necessary?

Tillerson 'was warned of Trump tweet'

Kelly (left) and Tillerson (right) accompanied Trump to his first State of the Union speech
Getty Images
Kelly (left) and Tillerson (right) accompanied Trump to his first State of the Union speech

According to the Associated Press news agency (AP), White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Tillerson on Friday to advise him to look out for a Trump tweet.

Tillerson was "only told that there might be a presidential tweet that would concern him", according to the AP.

"Kelly didn’t tell Tillerson what the tweet might say or when it might actually publish, according to the official," they report, citing a department official.

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Do you have Twitter?

Then you may have heard about Tillerson's firing before he did.

An AP reporter travelling with Tillerson back from Africa says there was zero indication on board the plane that the secretary of state was returning home to Washington early because he was being let go.

"I felt like, look, I just need to get back," he told reporter Josh Lederman.

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But according to US media, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had called him on Friday to warn him that his sacking was imminent, but reportedly did not set a timetable.

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Why was he fired?

Was it morongate? Was it the Iran deal? Was it the N Korea talks?

A senior White House adviser told the BBC's White House correspondent Tara McKelvey that "the president wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea and various ongoing trade negotiations".

But others have speculated that Tillerson's firing may have had more to do with his working relationship with his boss.

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Tillerson never disputed that he called the president a "moron", and once held a news conference to claim that he was not considering resigning.

Explaining his decision to reporters, Trump said he and Tillerson "disagreed on things" such as the Iran nuclear deal.

"I think it's terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something and he felt a little bit differently.

"So we were not really thinking the same."

Tillerson's last trip

Tillerson began his last trip as secretary of state on 8 March by meeting the chief of the African Union in Ethiopia.

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki said in a news conference that the continent had moved on past a derogatory slur that Trump reportedly made about its countries in a White House meeting.

“I believe that this incident is of the past," he said, standing beside Tillerson.

Tillerson arrives in Ethiopia on Friday
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Tillerson arrives in Ethiopia on Friday (to an unfortunate greeting)
On Friday, he sat for meetings with Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh
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On Friday, he sat for meetings with Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta
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He's seen here walking with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta
In Chad, he posed with special forces battling Islamic militants
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In Chad, he posed with special forces battling Islamic militants

What comes next?

Tillerson and Pompeo

Tillerson may find it tempting to retire to his cattle farm in Texas to spend time with his four children.

Pompeo still faces confirmation from the US Senate, which previously confirmed him for his job as CIA director.

He is expected to face questions regarding the justice department investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the US election, and whether the Trump team attempted to obstruct justice.

Pompeo is considered by investigator Robert Mueller to be a "peripheral witness" to Trump's firing of James Comey as FBI director, NBC has reported.

Gina Haspel, who was tapped by Trump to become the first woman to lead the CIA, also must be confirmed by the senate.

According to a New York Times profile of Haspel from last year, the deputy CIA director had played a key role in America's "extraordinary rendition" programme, in which terror suspects were handed over to foreign governments and held in secret facilities where they were tortured.

She will be questioned by Democrats over her work overseeing brutal interrogations of US detainees.

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How does Tillerson's tenure compare?

Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice
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Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice in the Oval Office in 2002

Secretary of State Colin Powell (George W Bush) - 1467 days

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (George W Bush) - 1455 days

Clinton and Kerry
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'Hillary Rodham Clinton Pavillion' naming ceremony at the State Department in 2017

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Barack Obama) - 1472 days

Secretary of State John Kerry (Barack Obama) - 1449 days

Rex Tillerson
Getty Images
Tillerson had the shortest tenure as Secretary of State in modern history

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (Donald Trump) - 405 days

Tillerson back in US after Africa trip cut short

Tillerson speaks at an anti-poaching lab in Nairobi on Saturday
Getty Images
Tillerson speaks at an anti-poaching lab in Nairobi on Saturday

Mr Tillerson met the Nigerian president on Monday in Abuja, but announced yesterday that he was cutting short the trip after being taken ill, and he cancelled events in Kenya on Saturday.

He arrived back in Washington before dawn on Tuesday to learn he was out of a job.

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The list of Trump's fired staff grows

Trump v Tillerson on Russia spy poisoning

On Monday, Tillerson appeared to depart from White House talking points when he backed British authorities in blaming the Kremlin for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in southern England.

The secretary of state said the nerve agent attack "clearly came from Russia" and "certainly will trigger a response".

One day earlier, the White House had declined to blame Russia for the attack.

Trump on Tuesday still wouldn't directly blame Russia, but said that he would agree with British findings.

Democrats respond to sacking

Top Democrats in the House of Representatives and the US Senate have responded to the news. One warns of "instability" in the Trump administration.

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'I like Rex a lot, but we disagreed'

Trump on Tillerson: I like Rex a lot, but we disagreed

Trump quickly soured on Tillerson

Anthony Zurcher

BBC North America reporter

Trump and Tillerson
Getty Images
Trump shakes Tillerson's hand as Tillerson's wife stands by at his swearing in on 1 February 2017

Rex Tillerson, who as a long-time corporate executive was an unconventional pick for secretary of state, seemed like he was on thin ice from very early on.

He was distrusted by veteran State Department employees, who viewed him as an outside interloper with little affinity for the organisation he headed.

The president, initially enamoured with the brash Texan, quickly appeared to sour on his pick, as he frequently broke with the White House line on foreign policy.

Reportedly calling the president a moron (intensified by a choice expletive) certainly didn't help, either.

Just last week Trump tweeted that he had a few more staff changes he wanted to make. Now it's getting clearer that he had one move in particular in mind.

Republicans react to sacking

UN ambassador Nikki Haley and Senator Marco Rubio expressed support for Trump's appointment of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State.

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Vice President Mike Pence thanked Rex Tillerson for his service and welcomed Mike Pompeo to the new role. He also greeted Gina Haspel as the new CIA Director.

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Trump former spokesman in typo tweet

Trump's former spokesman Sean Spicer has drawn attention on Twitter for praising Tillerson as a man who "severed our nation well".

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Russia reacts with a joke

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded by joking: "Have they started blaming Russia yet for the reshuffles in Washington?"

In a statement to Russian news agency Interfax, she ironically repeated the words of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who was speaking about the poisoning of a Russian spy, by adding: "Highly likely Russia".

Russian spy:

Who is America's newest top diplomat?

Mike Pompeo: 'Claims about Trump dangerous and false'

Mike Pompeo was a hardline Republican congressman before leading the CIA under Trump.

Hours before Mr Trump announced that he would meet the leader of North Korea, Mr Pompeo was seen in the Oval Office for a meeting with a South Korean delegation.

Mr Pompeo is seen as a Trump loyalist who performed a delicate balancing act at the CIA in managing frayed relations between the spy agency and a commander-in-chief who compared America's intelligence services to Nazis.

He has in the past played down findings by the CIA that the Russians attempted to influence last year's US election. But when push comes to shove, he has shown a willingness to contradict the president on the issue.

Mike Pompeo: America's Trump loyalist spymaster

Tillerson blindsided

According to State Department Under Secretary Steve Goldstein, Tillerson "did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason" for being sacked.

"But he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling," Goldstein adds.

Tillerson is due to return to Washington today.

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Trump sacks Tillerson

Tillerson and Trump
Tillerson and Trump

Welcome to the BBC News live coverage of President Trump's sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Trump announced his replacement on Twitter Tuesday morning as CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

He said the new state secretary would do "a fantastic job".

Tillerson, a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, was only appointed to the job just over a year ago.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, Mr Trump said his differences with Mr Tillerson came down to personal "chemistry".

"We got along actually quite well, but we disagreed on things," said the president.

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