Rex Tillerson differs with Trump on Russian Federation policies

U.S. intelligence chief Clapper says spoke with Trump about media leaks

But the CIA, FBI, and NSA - the agencies behind the highly classified report delivered to both Mr Obama and Mr Trump - did not reach that conclusion, as they could not measure how information obtained through the hacks influenced public opinion. Bob Menendez muttered in disbelief.

Tillerson said he'd continue to support the carbon tax approach in part because it would replace a "hodgepodge" of other policies and tax credits that in the end are less efficient. Not only did ExxonMobil file lobbying disclosures at the time, but committee chairman Bob Corker recalled personally fielding inquiries from Tillerson.

Gates, who has known Tillerson for years as fellow Boy Scouts of America board members, said Tillerson was "the right person at the right time" to stand up to Russian Federation.

In several tense exchanges between Tillerson and former Republican presidential nominee Marco Rubio, the Florida senator pushed the Secretary of State pick to speak on labeling Putin a war criminal.

Did Putin direct the campaign to undermine the election? "I'm not in a position to make that determination".

Did Russian forces commit war crimes in Syria?

"You're asking me to make a decision based on information I have heard today..."

Does Putin's regime murder dissidents, journalists and political opponents?

"I abhor the Klan and its hateful ideology", Sessions said.

Tillerson did talk tough on Ukraine, however. At one point, the oil executive criticized America's response to Russia's annexation of Crimea - sanctions, the same ones ExxonMobil lobbied against - as "weak".

"We live in a unsafe year, in a risky world, and Rex Tillerson is a serious man who understands the value of perseverance", Cruz said during his testimony.

Rubio and Menendez were among the first senators to question Tillerson during hearings that began Wednesday morning and continued throughout the day, and will begin again on Thursday.

Tim Kaine at least made an effort.

Tillerson answered only: "That would be a pretty unhelpful way to get started". That should in no way suggest that if those acts that you described are backed up by the facts, I would agree with your labeling and characterization.

Asked about the 3,500 extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, you weren't yet ready to say that you have enough evidence to call that a violation of human rights.

Tillerson said he would "not recommend that".

To top it off, a 2016 Oxfam report found that Exxon had $51 billion in offshore cash and subsidiary located in corporate tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the USA government Tillerson now wants to help run.

The GOP has a narrow, 11-10 majority on the Foreign Relations panel and it would take one Republican defection - if all Democrats voted against the candidate - to reject the nomination and keep it from a confirmation vote by the full Senate. "I'm prepared to do what's right".

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