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Rex Tillerson pushes back against Nikki Haley's claims that he and John Kelly 'undermined' Trump

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is denying claims by Nikki Haley that he was disloyal to President Trump.

Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, wrote a memoir in which she accused Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly of trying to recruit her to 'save the country' by undermining the president.  

Haley, a fierce Trump loyalist, made the allegations in her new book, With All Due Respect. She claims that Tillerson and Kelly should have taken their complaints directly to the president himself.

But Tillerson pushed back on Haley's claims on Monday, saying that she was not present enough during his meetings with Trump to know what he discussed with his then-boss.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denies claims by Nikki Haley that he tried to undermine President Trump during his tenure in the administration. From left: Tillerson, Trump, and Haley appear at Trump's estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, in August 2017

'During my service to our country as the Secretary of State, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the President,' Tillerson said in a statement to The Washington Post.

'My conversations with the President in the privacy of the Oval Office were always candid, frank, and my recommendations straightforward. 

'Once the President made a decision, we at the State Department undertook our best efforts to implement that decision.

'Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings and is not in a position to know what I may or may not have said to the President. 

'I continue to be proud of my service as our country’s 69th Secretary of State.' 

Haley claimed that Tillerson and Kelly approached her with a plan to work around Trump on issues they felt he wasn't handling properly. 

'Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren't being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,' Haley wrote in an excerpt obtained by The Washington Post.

'It was their decisions, not the president's, that were in the best interests of America,' they said. 

'The president didn't know what he was doing.' 

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Haley, Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, claims that Tillerson and John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, tried to recruit her to 'save the country' by undermining the president

In her forthcoming memoir, With All Due Respect, Haley describes a closed-door meeting where former White House Chief of Staff Kelly (left) and former Secretary of State Tillerson (right) asked her to help them work around Trump on issues they felt he wasn't handling well 

Trump took to Twitter on Sunday evening to wish Haley luck with her book. He tweeted: '@NikkiHaley is out with a new book, 'With All Due Respect' this week. Make sure you order your copy today, or stop by one of her book tour stops to get a copy and say hello. Good luck Nikki!'

Haley described Tillerson as 'exhausting', and said the secretary of state told her that 'people would die' if Trump went unchecked. 

She also claimed that Kelly was suspicious of her access to the Oval Office.

Haley expanded her account of the closed-door meeting with Tillerson and Kelly during an interview with CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell that aired Sunday. 

'Instead of saying that to me, they should've been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan,' she said. 

'It should've been: "Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don't like what he's doing."

'But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive.' 

When asked about Haley's account, Kelly responded: 'If by resistance and stalling she means putting a staff process in place … to ensure the (president) knew all the pros and cons of what policy decision he might be contemplating so he could make an informed decision, then guilty as charged.'  

Both Kelly and Tillerson departed the administration on bad terms.

Kelly left the White House after a tumultuous 18-month period where he served as chief of staff.

Tillerson, who was named the nation's top diplomat by Trump after a successful stint as CEO of ExxonMobil, was also reported to have clashed numerous times with the president.

During one dust-up in 2017, Tillerson is said to have referred to Trump as a 'f*****g moron.' 

Tillerson was fired in March of last year. He was replaced by Mike Pompeo, who was director of the Central Intelligence Agency before taking over at the State Department. 

Trump took to Twitter on Sunday evening to wish Haley luck with her book. He tweeted: '@NikkiHaley is out with a new book, 'With All Due Respect' this week. Make sure you order your copy today, or stop by one of her book tour stops to get a copy and say hello. Good luck Nikki!' 

Haley has remained a fierce Trump supporter even after she left her post as US ambassador to the United Nations in October 2018. She is pictured with the president in September 2017

Haley also addressed the House impeachment inquiry against Trump during the CBS interview, likening it to a 'death penalty' and saying she does not think the president will be removed from office.  

'You're going to impeach a president for asking for a favor that didn't happen and — and giving money and it wasn't withheld? I don't know what you would impeach him on,' she said.

'Impeachment is, like, the death penalty for a public official. When you look at the transcript, there's nothing in that transcript that warrants the death penalty for the president.'

House Democrats launched the inquiry in September amid the revelation that Trump may have threatened to withhold $400million in military aid to the Ukraine unless its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, opened an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.  

Haley's new memoir, With All Due Respect, will be released on Tuesday

The White House has repeatedly branded the inquiry as a 'witch hunt' spearheaded by 'unhinged' Democrats.  

Democratic lawmakers have said there is evidence that the president committed an abuse of power by trying to strong-arm the Ukraine into an investigation to hurt his rival and possible 2020 election opponent. 

Haley dismissed the idea that there was a quid pro quo in Trump's dealings with Zelensky.    

'The Ukrainians never did the investigation. And the president released the funds,' she said. 'I mean, when you look at those, there's just nothing impeachable there.

'And more than that, I think the biggest thing that bothers me is the American people should decide this. Why do we have a bunch of people in Congress making this decision?'

Haley also defended Trump regarding an inflammatory statement he made on Twitter over the summer, when he told four Democratic female members of Congress, three of whom were born in the US, to 'Go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came'.

The politician, who herself is the daughter of immigrants, admitted that Trump's words were 'not appropriate', before adding: 'But I also can appreciate where he was coming from, from the standpoint of, don't bash America over and over and over again and not do something to try and fix it.' 

The former South Carolina governor said she has no immediate plans to run for office, but that remains a possibility in the future. 

'A year is a long time in politics. It really is a lifetime in politics. And so, I think what's best for me is take it a year at a time and see what happens,' she said.      

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