The White House plan, which Trump has not yet signed off on, would force a major realignment early in his term, also creating a vacancy atop the Central Intelligence Agency that officials said could be filled by Republican Sen.
Sanders wouldn't say whether the videos were real and insisted she didn't know how President Trump found them, She told reporters the president retweeted them to start a conversation about border security and immigration. In October, Tillerson shot down a report that said he had been on the verge of resigning from his Cabinet position over the summer.
When Tillerson was tapped for the job late past year, many Trump critics expressed quiet relief that he'd picked a sober "adult" who could form a counterweight to the president's brasher, impulsive approach, especially on critical matters of war and peace. Even so, an end-of-year exit would make his time in office the shortest of any secretary of state whose tenure was not ended by a change in presidents in almost 120 years.
"They engaged in a foreign leader visit and are continuing to work together to close out what we've seen to be an incredible year".
Tillerson answered that "the president speaks for himself".
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Kelly told Tillerson's chief of staff on Thursday the reports on Tillerson being replaced were not true. Still, Tillerson aides say he expects to remain in his role to see the overhaul through.
When Tillerson in June called on Arab nations to ease their blockade on Qatar, Trump emerged in the Rose Garden hours later to lambaste Qatar for funding terrorism.
Tillerson joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump not to pull the United States out of an agreement with Iran and world powers over Tehran's nuclear capabilities.
At a private dinner of foreign policy veterans last month, a senior White House official criticized Tillerson for failing to support the president's agenda, according to a person familiar with the matter.
"There has never been a consideration in my mind to leave", Tillerson said.
Tillerson at the time refused to directly address the report that he referred to Trump as a "moron", saying that he would not "deal with petty stuff like that".
His tenure has coincided with the departure of dozens of veteran foreign policy hands, and numerous State Department's senior policymaking positions remain unfilled.