Durbin Presses Secretary Of State Nominee Rex Tillerson On Russia Ties, U.S. Foreign Policy Under Pres.-Elect Trump

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson. Durbin pressed Mr. Tillerson about his role in carrying out U.S. foreign policy under President-elect Trump, particularly given his recent dismissal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as obsolete.
“The first thing I asked Mr. Tillerson was how he thought he could be an effective Secretary of State, dealing with a President who regularly tweets dramatic reversals of American foreign policy. He was very tactful in his answer that he would serve at the pleasure of the President, but I continue to worry that he would be in a position to tell one of America’s allies one thing, and then wake up to a new tweet from the President reversing it. I don’t know how the United States or our Secretary of State could have any credibility in that circumstance.”
Durbin also discussed Mr. Tillerson’s close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the need for independent investigations in light of a U.S. intelligence report that Putin directed cyberattacks against America, as well as unverified reports of contact between Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
“Seventeen intelligence agencies in the United States have said that we were victims of a cyber act of war by Vladimir Putin during this last campaign, so what should we do to not be perceived as weak in response? Do you believe that we should have further investigations, including a Select Committee or an independent commission to look into this verified invasion by the Russians into our election process? Mr. Tillerson didn’t say specifically if he’d support that, but that the American people are entitled to all the information that we can give them. I interpret that to mean that he’s open to more investigation officially, and that’s what I support.”
Audio of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Video of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition.
B-Roll of Durbin and Tillerson’s meeting is available here.