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Who Is Trump's Pick: A Little About Mike Pompeo


There is big news this morning about changes in the Trump administration. President Trump announced on Twitter that Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of state. He will be replaced by Mike Pompeo, who is the current director of the CIA. NPR national security correspondent Greg Myre joins me now in the studio.

Hey, Greg.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So the president, before he boarded a flight to California this morning, he said that he and Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA, are just more in sync than he was with Rex Tillerson. What, in particular, was it that drew these two together, Pompeo and Trump?

MYRE: Well, a couple things. The most important one, I think, is most mornings in Washington, Pompeo goes to the White House and delivers the presidential daily brief, spends 30 minutes talking about the security issues that the president needs to know about. So I...

MARTIN: So they're face-to-face every day.

MYRE: Face-to-face - that's their bond most days. They also have a history with Hillary Clinton. Pompeo was on the congressional committee that grilled Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi episode. And, of course, Trump in the campaign...

MARTIN: Trump leveraged that.

MYRE: So they both have gone after Hillary quite hard.

MARTIN: So how will the fact that Pompeo is just closer to the president - how will that change what happens at the State Department?

MYRE: Well, I think two possibilities - one, certainly, the messaging could be more in sync because Tillerson and - Rex Tillerson, the outgoing secretary of state, did not seem to be on the same page a lot of the times, and he seemed to be saying something different than President Trump. Pompeo and Trump do seem to be on the same page - Pompeo definitely more hawkish in his pronouncements, talking about things like ripping up the Iran nuclear agreement, where Tillerson tended to be a little bit softer voice on these kinds of things.

MARTIN: And obviously, this is a tense time with these upcoming talks with North Korea. I just want to note Gina Haspel has been tapped to lead the CIA. She's currently the No. 2. She would make history as the first woman to lead that agency. Likely to be confirmed?

MYRE: Well, we will say she has not been confirmed. She does have this history of being involved in waterboarding right after the 9/11 attacks. And some Democratic senators raised this when she became deputy last year. That's sure to come up again when she goes through what will be her first confirmation hearing.

MARTIN: All right, NPR's Greg Myre for us this morning. Thanks so much, Greg.

MYRE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.