Home / Politics / Rex Tillerson confirmation hearing for Secretary of State: Live Blog #1

Rex Tillerson confirmation hearing for Secretary of State: Live Blog #1

Chairman and CEO of US oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, speaks during the 2015 Oil and Money conference in central London on October 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Chairman and CEO of US oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, speaks during the 2015 Oil and Money conference in central London on October 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is Trump’s pick for Secretary of State. The Senate is getting an early start this morning on talking about Tillerson, and we’ll be following along. You can watch the hearing here:

At the moment, Ted Cruz is doing the “fellow-Texan” lovefest, with a side order of how terrible things are after eight years of Obama. So far, there’s mostly what you would expect: being a CEO proves Tillerson has a “work ethic” that goes beyond that of ordinary mortals. Oh, and of course, after eight years of that renegade Obama, we really need a law-abiding, straight shooter team like Trump and Tillerson to keep us straight.

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017 · 2:22:14 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Sam Nunn starts his intro by diving straight in on Russia, highlighting the position between Russia and the United States and the threat that Russia represents, including “interfering in our elections.” Pushing hard to on reduction of nuclear weapons and citing Kennedy statements during the Cold War. But anyone expecting Nunn to come out against Tillerson is in for immediate disappointment, as he pushes the Exxon CEO’s business experience and “knowledge of Russia” as a big “asset.” 

“He knows the regions. He knows the leaders.” 

Nunn’s talk certainly intended to deflate any talk about Tillerson’s relationships to Russia.


Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017 · 2:49:14 PM +00:00

·
Mark Sumner

Cardin talking now. After a spiel on other items, he’s gotten around to Russian interference on the election including “Russia may have information” they can use against Trump. “It cannot be business as usual.” Pressing for continued, even expanded, Russia sanctions. “We need to stand up to this bully in Moscow.” Says he’s concerned that Tillerson said nothing about the cyber attack, but said America “sent signals” that Russia could invade Ukraine. Cardin getting directly into connection between Exxon and Russia. Promising some tough questions.


Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017 · 2:58:38 PM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Tillerson begins his own intro. Points up the global instability (of which Trump is a major indicator). “American leadership must not only be renewed, it must be asserted.” Combined with moving immediately to talking about military, seems like he’s holding a pretty hawkish line.


Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017 · 3:03:03 PM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

“We are the only global superpower with the means and the moral compass to shape the world for good.” Tillerson steps around saying that the Iraq War was a mistake. “We cannot look the other way at allies who don’t meet their obligations” (so get those NATO checks ready, boys). Calls out Iran, echoes a Trump tweet in attacking China for not reining in North Korea. A lot of time spent saying Trump’s magic words “radical Islam.”


Wednesday, Jan 11, 2017 · 3:06:44 PM +00:00

·
Mark Sumner

Moving on from ISIS to China. And now Russia. “Our NATO allies are right to be concerned with a resurgent Russia.” But then turns around and blames Obama for Russia. “Russia does not think like we do.” So the problem isn’t that Russia bad, but that Obama (and Clinton) were bad Russia wranglers.

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