- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
- President Donald Trump informally offered chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, who resigned in early March, the very different job of CIA director.
- Trump changed gears and instead nominated current deputy CIA director Gina Haspel the job when it opened up.
- Cohn could still return to the administration in another role in the future.
President Donald Trump offered Gary Cohn, the president’s departing chief economic adviser, the position of CIA director before rescinding the offer, according to a new report.
Politico’s Ben White, Andrew Restuccia, and Eliana Johnson reported that Cohn verbally agreed to the offer from Trump. But at some point, the president decided to nominate the deputy CIA director, Gina Haspel, instead.
The position opened up when Trump decided to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and name CIA Director Mike Pompeo to that role. Cohn, a former trader and bank executive, has no experience in the intelligence field.
Cohn resigned as Trump’s top economic adviser on March 6 after failing to dissuade president from imposing new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. Cohn was eyeing the exits for some time, but he is reportedly interested in returning to the administration in some capacity in the future.
Trump even suggested that Cohn could come back to a high-profile job during the adviser’s last Cabinet meeting on March 8.
“He’s going to go out, make another couple hundred million, and then he’s going to maybe come back,” Trump said. “You’re going to come back, right?”
“Absolutely,” Cohn replied.
“We’ll be here another seven years hopefully, and that’s a long time, but I have a feeling you’ll be back,” Trump said. “I don’t know if we can put him in the same position though, he’s not quite as strong on those tariffs as we want him.”
According to Politico, Trump and Cohn discussed alternate positions when the possibility of a departure came up a few months ago. The New York Times previously reported that Cohn was considered for chief of staff.