Senate Panel Focused on Tillerson’s Opinion on Russia

Time: 10:00 p.m. CEST

Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state labeled Russia as “danger,” but said, “it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interest.”

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, confirmed to Senate committee hearing on January 11 that it is a “fair assumption,” Russian Vladimir Putin knew about Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Tillerson labeled Russia as “danger,” but said, “It is not unpredictable in advancing its own interest.” Tillerson, who has no government experience and it is nominated from the oil company sector, and former ExxonMobil executive, to the top position in the upcoming Trump’s administration was grilled with questions by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

Rubio, pointed out to the significant business activities of Tillerson with Russia and asked if he can say that what happened in the involvement in the U.S. elections happened without knowledge of Vladimir Putin.

“I think that it is fair assumption,” was brief comments of Tillerson who previously said that the U.S. NATO allies “are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia.” But, Tillerson blamed as he said, “the absence of the American leadership that this door was left open, and unintended signals were sent.” Tillerson blamed the outgoing administration for sending mixed signals, and that “we backtrack commitments we made to allies.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) asked Tillerson what he would recommended to be done to prevent Russia what it did, referring to the actions Russia reportedly committed in Crimea.

“The absence of the very farm and forcible response to the taking of Crimea was judge by leadership in Russia, as a weak response,” Tillerson said. When pressed what should have U.S. leadership have done in response to that we did not do, Tillerson said he would “recommend that Ukraine,” use all available military assets to the eastern border. He would, as pointed out, “announced that U.S. would provide intelligence,” and that NATO or U.S. would “provide air surveillance over that border to monitor movements.”

Tillerson said he “would not use that term,” when Rubio asked if Vladimir Putin is “war criminal.”



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