"The Takeout" - Looming Tillerson departure, North Korean threat are "destabilizing"

White House chief of staff John Kelly recently signed off on a plan to show U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the door, CBS News has learned, indicating the decision has reached a high level in the approval process.  It's a move that may prove to be unsettling amid a rising anxiety stemming from North Korea's developing missile and nuclear programs.  

"That happening while this temperature is coming back up with North Korea is, you know, destabilizing," CBS News chief Washington correspondent John Dickerson said on the latest episode of "The Takeout" podcast, adding that this is especially true given Tillerson's close relationship with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

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North Korea launched a missile Tuesday which traveled more than 600 miles before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, within Japan's Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ). 

"It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they've taken," Mattis said Tuesday from the White House. "It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically."

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile did not pose a threat to North America, its territories or allies. However, the move is "extraordinary," Dickerson said.

"There are only so many times you can go through the, you know, 'We're going to increase sanctions, China's got to do more' before I feel like some pressure gets built up in the system."

Still, Garrett pointed out that there remains some time to deal with the North, noting that it's not as if a missile tipped with a nuclear warhead can land in Washington tomorrow. Dickerson agreed, adding that there were two clocks to watch: the first is the sanctions in North Korea, and "how much, if any pressure, is that putting on the government there."  

"And then the other clock," Dickerson said, is "How fast they can get something on top of a missile?...It's about re-entry – can it carry that payload, come back into the atmosphere?"

For more from Major and Steve's conversation with John Dickerson, including tales of his mother Nancy, CBS News' first female correspondent, download "The Takeout" podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, or Spotify. New episodes are available every Friday morning.

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