State Dept. surprised by Tillerson defending Trump

Tillerson Says Comey Firing Didn't Raise Alarms on Independence

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it is clear that Russian Federation meddled in last year's presidential election, and that Washington and Moscow will not be able to restart with "a clean slate". "And my values are those of the country".

But when host Chuck Todd asked him where he would draw the line for Trump, he said: "I will never compromise my own values, Chuck".

Tillerson assured Todd that he has "a great relationship with the president", suggesting that it's specifically because he does "understand what his objectives are". "I understand what his objectives are", Washington's top diplomat told the show.

"The President I think has made it clear that he feels it's important that we re-engage with Russian Federation".

"It is largely viewed that it is not healthy for the world, it is certainly not healthy for us, for the American people, our national security interests and otherwise, for this relationship to remain at this low level", he added.

"But I make a distinction between values and policy".

"[Trump] revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies", a USA official with knowledge of the meeting said. "A policy has to be tailored to the individual situation". And in fact they serve as the guidepost and they serve as the boundaries as we develop our foreign policy approaches and our diplomatic efforts. "To the country. To its circumstances". In an interview with the NBC television network, Rex Tillerson confirmed that Washington-Moscow relations reached "the lowest level of all time after the end of the Cold War and the level of trust is very low". "There are many, many important areas which require our attention if we are to bring it back to a relationship that we believe is necessary for the security of the United States". In the wake of Comey's firing, opposition Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans have called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to lead the investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's USA presidential election.

Asked what repercussions the Russians should face for interfering in the US election, Tillerson did not offer any specifics. Afterward few said any new information emerged about the increasingly tense USA standoff with Pyongyang.

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