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Trump Meets Petraeus as Battle Over Secretary of State Continues

Gen. David Petraeus
Dan Mescon | CNBC
Gen. David Petraeus

President-elect Donald Trump seemed to be honing in on his choice for secretary of state on Monday, holding a meeting with former CIA chief David Petraeus and announcing a second sit down with Mitt Romney as top aides squabble over who should be nominated for the high-profile position.

Petraeus, who in 2015 was sentenced to two years' probation and a $100,000 fine for admitting to providing classified information to his mistress, visited Trump Tower in Manhattan on Monday where the two held a one-hour meeting amid speculation Petraeus is being considered for a top post in the Trump administration.

"He basically walked us around the world, showed a great grasp of the variety of the challenges that are out there and some of the opportunities as well," Petraeus told reporters. "So, very good conversation and we'll see where it goes from here."

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Trump tweeted after the meeting that he was "very impressed" with the retired four-star general.

Before the scandal that led to Petraeus' resignation as CIA head in 2012, he became the nation's most high-profile general during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But his career unraveled after it was revealed he shared classified information with his biographer, whom he was also having an affair with.

FBI Director James Comey testified in July that Petraeus also lied to federal agents during the investigation.

Trump throughout his campaign slammed Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state and questioned why she was not prosecuted while Petraeus was. The FBI decided not to prosecute Clinton after an investigation into the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee's email use found no criminal wrongdoing.

Trump's team also announced Monday that the president-elect would meet for a second time with former rival Mitt Romney, who is also being considered to head the State Department. The reason, according to Trump spokesman Jason Miller, is that the two haven't spent much time together.


The meeting comes amid new tensions with Trump's staff over who should serve in one of the most prestigious posts in government. Trump's aides are sharply divided over the idea of Romney joining the president-elect's team after delivering a stinging rebuke of then-candidate Trump during the Republican primary battle.

Kellyanne Conway, a top aide to Trump, said Sunday that supporters feel "betrayed" that the man who spoke out so forcefully against Trump is now in the running for a top post in his new administration.

"The number of people who feel betrayed to think that Governor Romney would get the most prominent Cabinet post, after he went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump — there was the Never Trump movement, and then there was Mitt Romney," Conway told CNN.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is considered a leading candidate for the job, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker are also thought to be under consideration.

Also on Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Trump and President Barack Obama spoke for 45 minutes over the weekend. Earnest said it was "one of a handful" the two have had since Election Day, but declined to comment on the contents of the conversation.