So here’s where we are now.
On Friday President Trump abruptly fired his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, forcing him to cut short a trip to Africa.
Remarkable statement from State Department spokesman on Tillerson firing: pic.twitter.com/iBpLaK1tXw
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 13, 2018
BREAKING: Officials: White House fires top Tillerson aide who contradicted account of secretary of state's dismissal.
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 13, 2018
Although Tillerson and Trump publicly disagreed on many things, I found this particularly interesting:
On the flight from Nigeria, Tillerson appeared to break with the White House in his assessment of the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He singled out Russia as responsible for the attack, echoing the finger-pointing of the British government.
“It came from Russia,” Tillerson said, according to the Associated Press. “I cannot understand why anyone would take such an action. But this is a substance that is known to us and does not exist widely.”
Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders condemned the attack as “reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible,” and expressed solidarity with Britain, but would not say whether the United States believes Russia was behind it.
And Trump, who routinely tweets insults and unsubstantiated charges against his domestic political opponents, maintains his silence on the near-certain involvement of the Putin regime in poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
I really don’t want to believe that Putin has something on Trump, but c’mon…
Update: There’s a dispute over the timing of Tillerson’s firing: the White House says he was notified on Friday but Tillerson’s now-fired spokesman said the now-former secretary of state only learned about it on Tuesday.
Further update: Trump’s statement Tuesday on the Skripal poisoning is downright Corbynian. (Notice the absence of outrage.):
US President Donald Trump suggested on Tuesday that he believes the British government’s theory that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in England earlier this month.
“It sounds to me like it would be Russia based on all the evidence they have,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia and I would certainly take that finding as fact.”
Trump added: “As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.”