WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday and said he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him, putting an ardent foe of the Iran nuclear deal in charge of U.S. diplomacy as Trump also dives into high-stakes talks with North Korea.
"We disagreed on things," Trump said of Tillerson just after announcing the firing on Twitter. He mentioned differences over how to handle the Iran-nuclear deal, which Trump wanted to withdraw from. "So we were not really thinking the same."
Though Trump and other officials said he'd been considering replacing Tillerson for some time, the president said he made the decision only recently and "by myself." Tillerson will be "much happier now," Trump said.
Word of Trump's dissatisfaction with Tillerson and plans to replace him with Pompeo had circulated for months, even as Tillerson insisted he didn't plan to leave and that he knew of no plans for his ouster. Rumors about friction between Trump and Tillerson increased last fall with reports that Tillerson had called the president a "moron" while meeting with other officials.
The changes come as Trump considers whether to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Iran deal that Pompeo has called "disastrous." Tillerson had long pushed Trump to remain in the agreement and had been pursuing a delicate strategy with European allies and others to try to improve or augment it to Trump's liking.
The president said he was nominating the CIA's deputy director, Gina Haspel, to take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency. If confirmed, Haspel would be the CIA's first female director
Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, has already been confirmed by the Senate for his current role at the CIA, making it extremely likely that he will be confirmed for the State Department role. Trump tweeted, "He will do a fantastic job!"
As for his relationship with Tillerson, Trump said, "Really, it was a different mindset. It was a different thinking."
Two White House officials said Tillerson was told he was out on Friday, although it was unclear who did the firing. Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said Tillerson "did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason," adding that the former Exxon Mobil CEO "had every intention of staying" in the job because he felt he was making critical progress in national security."
Tillerson's firing came barely four hours after he returned to Washington from a trip to Africa that he had cut short, telling reporters that he was exhausted after working most of the night two nights in a row and getting sick in Ethiopia. There were no obvious signs from his behavior or his aides on the plane that his departure was imminent.
"I felt like, look, I just need to get back," Tillerson said on his plane, only hours before Trump announced he was out.
COOS BAY — The Coos Bay Police and public got a chance to mingle Monday morning over coffee at the CBPD's Coffee with a Cop program.
"This gives our officers and the public to talk about things that concern them regarding public safety," said Coos Bay Police Chief Gary McCullough."It also gives our officers and the public a chance to get to know our officers who patrol their neighborhoods."
The event was held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Flappers Coffee House located in the Old City Hall Building at 375 North Central Avenue in downtown Coos Bay.
The event was meant to have no agenda, no speeches, just a chance to sit down with the police officers that are working hard to keep your neighborhoods and businesses safe. This event gives citizens a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know who the police officers are that they see driving and walking through their neighborhoods, MuCullough said.
WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have completed a draft report concluding there was no collusion or coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, a finding that pleased the White House but enraged Democrats who had not yet seen the document.
After a yearlong investigation, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway announced Monday that the committee has finished interviewing witnesses and will share the report with Democrats for the first time Tuesday. Conaway is the Republican leading the House probe, one of several investigations on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
"We found no evidence of collusion," Conaway told reporters Monday, suggesting that those who believe there was are reading too many spy novels. "We found perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment in taking meetings. But only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings or whatever, and weave that into sort of a fiction page-turner, spy thriller."
Hours later, Trump tweeted his own headline of the report in excited capital letters: "THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION."
Conaway previewed some of the conclusions, but said the public will not see the report until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public, a process that could take weeks. Democrats are expected to issue a separate report with far different conclusions.
In addition to the statement on coordination with Russians, the draft picks apart a central assessment made by the U.S. intelligence community in the months after the 2016 election. The January 2017 assessment revealed that the FBI, CIA and NSA had concluded that the Russian government, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, waged a covert influence campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with the goal of hurting Democrat Hillary Clinton's candidacy and helping Trump's campaign.
"We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the intelligence community report reads, noting later that the Kremlin "aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton."
House intelligence committee officials said they spent hundreds of hours reviewing raw source material used by the intelligence services in the assessment and said it did not meet the appropriate standards to make the claim about helping Trump. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the intelligence material. Conaway said there will be a second report just dealing with the intelligence assessment and its credibility.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement soon after the GOP announcement Monday, saying it stood by the intelligence community's findings. DNI spokesman Brian Hale said the office will review the findings of the committee's report.
Democrats have criticized Republicans on the committee for shortening the investigation, pointing to multiple contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia and saying they have seen far too few witnesses to make any judgment on collusion. The Democrats and Republicans have openly fought throughout the investigation, with Democrats suggesting a cover-up for a Republican president and one GOP member of the panel calling the probe "poison" for the previously bipartisan panel.
The top Democrat on the intelligence panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, suggested that by wrapping up the probe the Republicans were protecting Trump. He called the development a "tragic milestone" and said history would judge them harshly.
Republicans "proved unwilling to subpoena documents like phone records, text messages, bank records and other key records so that we might determine the truth about the most significant attack on our democratic institutions in history," Schiff said.
According to Conaway, the report will agree with the intelligence assessment on most details, including that Russians did meddle in the election. It will detail Russian cyberattacks on U.S. institutions during the election and the use of social media to sow discord. It will also show a pattern of Russian attacks on European allies — information that could be redacted in the final report. It will blame officials in former President Barack Obama's administration for a "lackluster" response and look at leaks from the intelligence community to the media.
It will include at least 25 recommendations, including how to improve election security, respond to cyberattacks and improve counterintelligence efforts.
The report is also expected to turn the subject of collusion toward the Clinton campaign, saying an anti-Trump dossier compiled by a former British spy and paid for by Democrats was one way that Russians tried to influence the election. Conaway did not suggest that Clinton knowingly coordinated with the Russians, but said the dossier clearly "would have hurt him and helped her."
He also said there was no evidence that anything "untoward" happened at a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between members of the Trump campaign and Russians, though he called it ill-advised. Despite a promise of dirt on Clinton ahead of the meeting, there's no evidence that such material was exchanged, he said.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating the Russian intervention, and is expected to have a bipartisan report out in the coming weeks dealing with election security. The Senate panel is expected to issue findings on the more controversial issue of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia at a later date.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, also investigating the meddling, is expected to release transcripts soon of closed-door interviews with several people who attended the 2016 meeting between the Trump campaign and Russians. It's unclear if the Judiciary panel will produce a final report.
The congressional investigations are completely separate from special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, which is likely to take much longer and has already resulted in charges against several people linked to Trump's campaign. Unlike Mueller's, congressional investigations aren't criminal but serve to inform the public and to recommend possible legislation.
NORTH BEND — As schools around the country brace for student walkouts following the Feb. 14 deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla., principals and superintendents are scrambling to perform a delicate balancing act: How to let thousands of students exercise their First Amendment rights while not disrupting school and not pulling administrators into the raging debate over gun control.
Some have taken a hard line, promising to suspend students who walk out, while others are using a softer approach, working with students to set up places on campus where they can remember the victims of the Florida shooting and express their views about school safety and gun control.
Locally, some North Bend High School students and perhaps others at Marshfield High School along with their peers nationwide.
"We are aware that a number of North Bend students are planning to participate in a National School Walkout against gun violence," North Bend School District Superintendent Bill Yester stated in a letter sent home to students' parents Monday.
"The walkout is scheduled for March 14, 2018, at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 lives lost at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. North Bend School District is not supporting or endorsing a particular viewpoint, but we respect students’ rights to express themselves and their interest in honoring the lives that were lost. North Bend School District is not supporting or endorsing a particular viewpoint, but we respect students’ rights to express themselves and their interest in honoring the lives that were lost. I have been working closely with our school principals and our North Bend Police Department and we have plans in place to ensure student safety."
Coos Bay School District Superintendent Bryan Trendell said the staff is prepared for some students to march and said it should be a "peaceful, educational event."
Marshfield High School Principal, Travis Howard, confirmed Tendell's expectations and said the district wants to support the students' right to demonstrate in a peaceful manner.
Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, demonstrations have sprung up on school campuses around the country. But the first large-scale, coordinated national demonstration is planned for Wednesday when organizers of the Women's March have called for a 17-minute walkout, one minute for each of the 17 students and staff members killed in Florida.
National demonstrations are also planned for March 24, with a march on Washington, D.C.; and on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado.
North Bend High School junior Gracie Schlager has been doing her part to organize another rally in Coos Bay at noon on March 24 at the Coos Bay Boardwalk.
"After the last incident on Feb. 14, I was inspired to use my voice as well as those of others to fight for change," said Schlager.
"I've been using social media to notify other students and the community," she said.
Schlager said she has also been putting up posters to try to get others involved. She said she hasn't seen to much negativity in responses and has received positive responses from some students and adults alike.
"We want change, but it's not going to happen if everyone doesn't get involved," Schlager said.
Schlager said she will not be participating in Wednesday's walkout, but she will be out of town at a high school music competition.
Schlager, 17, plans to participate in the March 24 walkout. She plans to study either music or nursing upon completion of high school.
For middle-school and high-school administrators, figuring out how to allow the demonstrations during school hours has proven challenging. In some cases, it hasn't gone smoothly.
At North Bend High School, this week is finals week and Yester warned students and parents in the letter sent home that students will not have the opportunity to finish their finals. He said students will be given the opportunity to make up incomplete finals.
"For test security, students walking out during an incomplete test will not be allowed to finish their test when they return. Make-ups for missed finals will occur during designated times, the letter stated. "High School students will be directed across the street, off campus. Upon returning, high school students will be directed to the cafeteria until the next class period change.
"North Bend High School is on a finals schedule this Wednesday. For test security, students walking out during an incomplete test will not be allowed to finish their test when they return. Make-ups for missed finals will occur during designated times. We anticipate some high school students will participate in the National School Walkout, but we realize some middle school and elementary students may also express an interest in participating. The middle school and our two elementary schools have plans to allow students to express themselves in an appropriate manner. Remember that participation in the walkout is a decision between you and your child. At no time will students be required to participate. My first concern is your child’s safety. I am confident that we can minimize the disruption of the school day while supporting the rights of your child. Please take a few minutes today and tomorrow to discuss this with your child in advance and to reinforce school expectations at home. I appreciate the continued support of our schools and the partnership we have in educating your child in a safe environment," the letter said.
Students participating at North Bend High's walkout will be expected to adhere to certain stipulations, according to Yester's letter.
Since the district is not supporting or endorsing a particular viewpoint, staff have been asked not to participate. The North Bend Police Department will be near North Bend High School for added security during this time. Student Expectations
"Students participating in the walkout must gather off campus. They may not roam the building or walk to any other part of their school during this time. High School students will be directed across the street, off campus. Upon returning, high school students will be directed to the cafeteria until the next class period change," the letter said.