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At long last, US Secretary of State Tillerson gets a deputy

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/04/2017 By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

MOSCOW — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson finally has a deputy at the State Department.

The White House says President Donald Trump is nominating John Sullivan for deputy secretary of state. Sullivan is a former official at the departments of Justice, Defense and Commerce.

The State Department has been under scrutiny for a leadership vacuum since Trump took office and ordered a freeze on federal hiring. Almost all upper leadership positions are vacant or filled temporarily by "acting" officials. The staffing shortage comes as Trump and Tillerson seek to dramatically cut the State Department's budget.

Trump announced the nomination while Tillerson was traveling in Russia.

Another top position is being eliminated. The White House says Sullivan will serve simultaneously as the agency's top management official, with no additional pay.

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