Powell Stepping Down

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Secretary of State Colin Powell is stepping down.

High-ranking State Department officials say Powell told his aides today that he intends to leave once President Bush settles on a replacement.

The White House is preparing an announcement to confirm Powell's resignation.

Powell submitted his letter of resignation to the president on Friday.

According to one official, Powell expects that his departure date will be sometime in January, but it's not immediately clear whether he will leave before Bush's second inauguration on January 20th.

In the meantime, he will go about his usual schedule, which includes a meeting later in the day with the Israeli Foreign Minister. He also will attend a multinational conference on Iraq next week.