tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN January 11, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
inside syria. so, i guess the simple question for you is this. if you're not ready to say today that what's happening in the philippines is a human rights violation, despite the fact that the president brags about killing people without trial or the denial of rights to women in saudi arabia as a named human rights violation or what's happening in syria as a war crime, can you maybe give us a little bit of a sense of what countries today you would consider to be violators of human rights, or how you are going to make judgments about where the u.s. pursues human rights violators and where we he don't? because i think it will be a surprise to a lot of people coming out of this hearing that you aren't ready today to call president duterte a violator of human rights, or to call what's happening in saudi arabia a named violation of human rights under international law. >> well, i think somewhere in your question there, senator
murphy, was, in fact, the answer. i am going to act on factual information. i'm not going to act on what people write about in the newspapers or even what people may brag they've done because people brag about things that they may or may not have done. i'm going to act on the facts. and if confirmed, i'm going to have access to a lot of information that i don't have access today. it's just my nature to not prejudge events or prejudge and make conclusions or conclude that someone has, in fact, violated this norm or, in fact, now meets the standard to be labelled this until i have seen those facts myself. that should in no way suggest that if those acts that you've described are backed up by the facts, i would agree with your labeling and characterization. i'm just not willing to do that on the record today because i've not seen that information.
so, please don't confuse that with my -- my standards are no different than yours. >> let's take philippines for an example. i don't know that there's anybody on this committee that would deny that there are extra judicial killings happening in philippines. it's been widely reported. our embassy has reported it. the president himself talks about it. what more information do you need before deeming the philippines to be a human rights violator? what's happening there is a massacre that's there for everyone to see. >> i'm sure the committee has seen a lot of evidence that i've not seen. i'm not disputing your conclusion. you're asking me to make a judgment on only what i'm being told. that's not how i make judgments. >> so, what information in that case would you need? who would you need to hear from? >> i would want to see the factual basis behind the statistics and the factual connection as to who is committing those acts.
>> we don't -- a lot of times the factual evidence is reporting by objective observers on the ground. i'm not initially sure you're going to get a videotape of an extra judicial killing. oftentimes the evidence is the objective reporting we get from source he on the ground inside a place like the philippines. >> i will rely on multiple sources to confirm what i am being told. blame it on me being an engineer. it's just the engineer in me that i deal with facts and i analyze and conclude. i'm sure there's a lot of credible information out there that i simply haven't seen. >> this is a question that often gets asked of members of congress to judge their view of politics and conflict in the middle east. it's a pretty simple one. do you believe that the iraq war, not the conduct of the war, but the war itself was a
mistake? >> i think i indicated in response, i believe it was to senator paul's question, that i think our motives were commendable, but we did not achieve the objectives there. we did not achieve greater stability. we did not achieve improved national security for the united states of america. and that's just the events have borne that out. and at the time i held the same view, that i was concerned just as i was concerned before the decisions were made to go into libya and change the leadership there. it's not that i endorse that leadership, but that leadership had to play somewhat stable with a lot of bad actors locked up in prison. now all those bad actors are running around the world. so, it's just -- it's the question of -- it is a question that our ultimate goal has to be
to change that type of oppressive leadership. it has to be, though, that we know what is coming after, or we have a high confidence that we can control what comes after, or influence it and it will be better than what we just took out. >> but which, in this case, which motives are you referring to that were commendable? >> i think the concerns were that saddam hossein represented a threat to the world and the united states directly. so, i understand that people had -- were looking at information that was available to them, information that's not available to me at least at this point. so, i'm making this comment as a casual observer. >> one last question going back to russia. you said in earlier -- answer to earlier question that you wouldn't commit today to the continuation of sanctions against the russians for their involvement in the u.s. presidential election.
but could you make a commitment to us today that if you deem sanctions to be the inappropriate policy that you will recommend and argue for a substitute response for the interference in u.s. elections? will you argue for a u.s. response even if you don't believe sanctions is the right policy? >> yes, yes. if -- and all i've read, again, is the unclassified portions and it is troubling. if there is additional information that indicates the level of interference, it deserves a response. >> thank you. >> thank you. just to follow-up, our embassies in countries have pretty massive capabilities that are well known. in the philippines, for instance, our embassy there assessed to you with very high confidence -- since you're not going to be able to be on the ground checking things out
yourself and a 70,000-person organization -- 75,000, and you're going to have to rely on people as you do as an engineer and certainly a ceo of a company, if they assess the extra judicial killings were taking place, that would probably be enough evidence for you that he was a human rights violator, would it not be? >> in all likelihood it would. >> just to follow-up on one other thing, i know this committee passed very strongly in a bipartisan way and now it's been through multiple iterations of appropriations and now an authorization, a bill to end modern slavery, to work in partnership with others around the world. and i say this because i visited a place in the philippines where much of that is occurring and thank you for reminding me. but would you -- do you plan to continue to support the effort that's been authorized here and has been appropriated towards -- to work in conjunction with the
world community to end one of the greatest blights in the world today, and that is 27 million people in the world being enslaved more than at any time in the world's history? >> i think it is part of america's moral clarity and our values that we must speak out and not just speak out, but take action to cause countries that are allowing this to go on, or facilitating it, worse, to cause them to change that. i know that this is a particularly passionate issue to yourself and other members of the committee. and i want to enlarge it to human trafficking at large as well. slavery and human trafficking have to be addressed and america has to lead in this particular area. >> thank you so much. senator isaac son. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. tillerson, thank you for your candor and respect you've exhibited for the committee and the process. we're proud of your nomination and commend you to the senate. i'm going to ask one question and then i'm going to waive the
rest of my time so we can get a little rest. one of the important roles of the state department -- i went back to the state department for some of the soft power and part of our soft power is solving problems nobody else can solve. ebola in west africa, it was the cdc which stopped ebola, now we have a vaccine that stops it. the money was a special appropriation of the united states senate and house to create an emergency fund to deal with ebola. during the same period of time they referred a loss of fever patient to the cdc, emory university to take care of which they did. there was no funds available for that loss of payment and to this date emory has not been reimbursed for that payment -- that treatment. my question is it seems to be a good time for us to look at the cdc which is the heart of the solution and create a emergency
fund reserve where we have an amount of money available to the cdc secretary that they can immediately go to to use for an emergency like ebola or like loss of fever. i am going to work to try and establish that this year. i hope as secretary of state when you are confirmed you'll work with me to do that. >> i look forward to that, senator, in engaging with you on it. i think you're right, the cdc's response in the ebola outbreak was remarkably well managed. i would make an observation because all of this at some point gets to somebody that has to pay for all this. and in examining the -- how the world health organization did in these outbreaks, i think what it exposed was some deficiencies within world health organization as well, that they were not able to respond. and that's where normally -- this was an outbreak that occurred in another part of the world. they should have been the first responders to the scene. but as you point out, cdc as
well as other u.s. assets had to be put in those countries to assess that. it is worth an examination of how that interfaces in these types of outbreaks whether it's ebola or the zeka a virus, how is that working with the global health organizations as well. >> thank you very much for your time and congratulations on your nomination. >> senator marking. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. tillerson, do you agree with president-elect trump when he said, quote, it wouldn't be a bad thing for us if japan, south korea, or saudi arabia acquired nuclear weapons? >> senator, i don't think anyone advocates for more nuclear weapons on the planet. >> donald trump said it would not be a bad thing. do you agree with that or disagree with that?
>> i do not agree. >> you do not agree. would you commit to working vigorously to ensure that no additional country on the planet obtains a nuclear weapons capacity? >> senator, i think if confirmed, it is a vital, one of the vital roles for the state department to play in working in the national security council and in an agency way has to be the pursuit of nuclear nonproliferation. we just simply cannot back away from our commitment to see a reduction in the number of these weapons on the planet. >> okay. president-elect trump recently said on twitter that in his view the united states must, quote, expand its nuclear capability. when, one, that this could trigger an arms race, he replied, let it be an arms race. do you agree with president-elect trump that the united states should welcome a nuclear arms race with russia or
with china? would that be a good thing for the united states? >> senator, i think as we are pursuing nonproliferation and we are also pursuing the enforcement of important agreements like new start, that we have to also approach those from a position of strength. i think in the context of some of the quotes that you're running through here, the president-elect has also indicated a commitment to ensuring that the level of nuclear arms and capability that we are going to maintain under agreed treaties, that those capabilities must be maintained. and from time to time that means we've got to renew them and bring them up to date and ensure that they are capable. otherwise we now have an asymmetric arrangement with people we're negotiating with. >> right. but that's at odds with what he has been quoted publicly as saying, so, i just think it's important for us to hear you take the position that, in fact,
negotiations towards reducing the nuclear threat rather than having a new nuclear arms race is much better for our country and the global security. if you are confirmed, will you commit to protect the rights of all career employees of the state department so that they retain their right to speak with congress? >> as pursuant to an open and effective dialogue with congress, would encourage that issues are put on the table for discussion with congress, yes. >> you just had, i think, a great conversation with senator isaacson about global health issues. and one of our great achievements over the last couple of decades has been the establishment in investment in pepfar and u.s. leadership in the global fund to fight aids, tb and malaria, millions of
lives have been saved and health infrastructure has been built in the developing world. could you discuss your view of those programs and your commitment to strengthening them in the years ahead? >> pepvar is one of the remarkable successes of the past decade or more, obviously begun under president bush. and i think what's notable about pepvar is there are measurable results. very well managed, very well targeted. getting at those three diseases, i think it serves as a model for us to look to as we're thinking about other ways in which to project america's values, project our compassion, to want to solve these threats that are in other parts of the world that by and large we're not threatened by a lot of this here in this country. malaria eradicated decades ago. tb well under control.
aids, great treatment programs available to people. projecting that into other parts of the world is a marvelous way to send the message of the compassion of the american people, that we care about people's lives all over the worl so pep var is a terrific model to look at in the future. as we think about other areas that may be useful for us to put additional programs in place. >> now, i'd like to move on to another global health issue. as it impacts the united states, and again this is the opioid epidemic. it's now been transformed into a fentanyl issue. in massachusetts this year, in new hampshire, senator sha heen's home state. three quarters of the people who died in 2016 of opioid overdose died on fentanyl. and if it was occurring at the same rate across the country as it did in massachusetts in 2016,
that would be 75,000 people a year dying from fentanyl overdoses. now, the way this is coming into america is pretty much the chemicals come in from china. they go down to mexico, and then they're trafficked in out of mexico into the regions of the country. senator rubio has a similar problem in florida. we need to elevate this issue, mr. secretary, to a much higher level of importance in our country. the terrorists that's going to kill americans on the streets of our country are the terrorists who are selling fentanyl. it's the mexican and chinese operatives who are funneling this into our country. that is the terrorist fear in the hearts of americans. can you talk about how strong you intend on ensuring that the state department takes in terms
of actions to tell the chinese and the mexicans how serious we are about this threat, this exostential threat to families all across our country? >> senator, if confirmed, this will be -- this will require an inter agency approach. both in terms of applying many of the tools that have been used in terror financing elsewhere, to track the flow of money, attempt to disrupt on both ends of that, because i think it's one thing. we can send the chinese a message, but it's another then to put in place the mechanisms, whether it be working with treasury and other parts of the process to disrupt the flow of these materials and these drugs as well. clearly we have a message to project to china, but i'm also clear eyed about china just suddenly saying, okay, never mind. >> a wall across our southern border will not keep the
fentanyl out. >> it's going to take much tougher action if we're going to save ultimately two vietnams a year of deaths. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you. senator grasso. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your patience staying with us. i had a couple questions to follow-up on things you've been asked -- >> i'm jake tapper. we're going to take a break away from the hearing. i'm joined now by former defense secretary robert gates who introduced rex tillerson at his senate hearing today. thank you for joining us. >> pleasure. >> credit or blame for tillerson nomination lies with you. you're the one who suggested it to the trump transition team. your consulting team does work with exxon/mobil. you got to know him for years through the boy scouts. >> that's right. rex and i have been in leadership a couple of years. frankly played a big role persuading me to take it on. and after scouting events, as i have said at the hearing this
morning, we would often spend several hours at the end of the day talking about international affairs and so on. so, when the president-elect asked me if it was a blank slate who would i recommend, i put rex's name forward. >> what do you make of the concerns that you've heard expressed from some of the democrats on the senate foreign relations committee about tillerson not expressing more outward condemnation of human rights in saudi arabia, human rights violations in the philippines, whether or not vladimir putin is a war criminal? >> well, i think it's a difference between somebody who actually has responsibility and who understands that there are legal implications of those designations. so, if you're going to be the secretary of state, you have to take into account that when you say those things, unlike a senator who can say anything like that and there are no consequences, but if the
secretary of state makes a pronouncement about that, about a country or about an individual, then there are legal implications in terms of actions the united states has to take as a consequence. >> so, it's cautious. >> i think it's being properly cautious and i haven't watched a lot of the hearing, but it seems to me he's trying to communicate that we have completely shared -- he has completely shared values with those senators. but if he takes this job, if he's confirmed, he's going to end up having to make some decisions that have very real implications for our relationships with those countries. >> you said something interesting in your introduction to rex tillerson this morning. you said this new administration must thread the need l between pushing back between putin's intervention and bullying and at the same time find a way to stop the dangerous downward spiral in our relationship with russia. that's a tall order. how do you do that? >> it is a tall order, but i think it starts with pushing
back, and just my personal view. i think one way you let the russians and putin know that they've stepped too far, first of all, would be to sort out our defense budget. and basically say, we're going to make some reinvests in defense because of putin's actions, what he has said and what he has done with his own nuclear weapons, but also with his conventional forces. and as a result, we are going to go ahead and fund modernization of our nuclear programs. we are going to do some additional things. and i think there are some specific steps we can take in specific countries that push back. but at the same time, communicating to the russians, look, we need to figure out a way to break this downward spiral and we're willing to sit down and talk about that. that's what we did with the soviets at the height of the cold war. >> cnn reported yesterday and since then many other news organizations have matched the new york times, washington post, "wall street journal," et cetera, the intelligence chiefs in their meeting with president-elect trump on friday provided information that
suggested that there was information out there, claims being made by russia, however accurate the claims are who knows, but claims being made by russians about potentially compromising information about mr. trump's financial, political and personal. does that concern you at all? i mean, you deal with intelligence heads or have dealt with intelligence heads for decades when they would -- for them to bring such information to president obama and president-elect trump, what would that suggest to you? >> i learned a long time ago not to talk about stuff that i don't know anything about. so, anything i would say would be pure speculation. i think that, you know, it depends on the prove nesn of whoever was providing the information. i just don't know any particulars so i'm really not in a position to judge. >> are you concerned as somebody who sounds as though you would be slightly more hawkish at least initially with vladimir putin in terms of building up the pentagon and someone whose career has been challenging
russia in various ways whether the defense department? are you concerned about some of the rhetoric we've heard from donald trump, not rex tillerson particularly, but donald trump about having a better relationship with russia? i don't think he's ever criticized putin. >> i would like to -- he gets the part about breaking the downward spiral in relationship really well. frankly, i would like to hear a little bit more on the push backside. >> rex tillerson is somebody who has enormous success in the business world. that is something that some on the committee seem to be concerned about, can he view the world in a less real politiqe way, not just alliances, but human rights, promoting democracy? exxon/mobil -- and it wasn't his job to do so -- is not a company out there promoting human rights. it's doing its function which is getting fossil fuels and making money. because you know him so well,
why does that not concern you? >> because i have seen a side of rex tillerson that people in the business world wouldn't necessarily have seen. i've seen, i've seen him get up in front of a group of a thousand or 1500 volunteers in the scouting movement and talk with passion about american values, about human rights, about democracy and what we stand for as a country. and i think those -- those feelings run deep in rex tillerson. i think he can make the pivot from executive to secretary of state without any difficulty at all. >> several senators questioned how much rex tillerson -- and this wasn't specific to him, this question has been asked of other cabinet nominees. but how much he would be able to stand up to president-elect trump when he becomes president. you know both men. you know rex tillerson much better. will he be able to stand up to president trump? >> one of the things i found encouraging frankly, and i introduced general john kelly
for home land security yesterday. one of the things i found encouraging about the nominations of jim matt os at defense, rex tillerson at state, and john kelly at home land security is i know all three of these men. two of them worked for me. and i know they are tough, independent, strong minded individuals who will tell the president exactly what he needs to know, not necessarily what he wants to know. they're not going to be intimidated. they're not going to be rolled. so, i think frankly it's a positive thing that the president-elect wants people of that caliber around him who he knows are going to tell him exactly what they think. >> one last question for you. since you know him through the boy scouts, obviously one of the most controversial points of the boy scout history in the last decade or so had to do with the acceptance of gay scout leaders and gay boy scouts. what role did rex tillerson play in that discussion and in that debate if that was part of his time in the boy scouts?
>> i think that -- i think rex played a big role in calming the waters in 2013 after the decision was made to allow gay youth to participate in scouting. the decision to allow gay leaders to happen -- to serve occurred on my watch as national president and all i can tell you is rex was very supportive. and the way we did it, we were able to keep virtually all of our major church sponsors on board. >> former secretary yats, always good to have you. >> thank you. >> check out his book. he's not here to hawk it, but he's here to hawk rex tillerson. let's return to the hearing. members of the foreign committee still questioning him now. >> there were 25 countries registered. all of them were muslim countries that were in that program except for one which was north korea.
that was then the policy of the obama administration was to zero out that registry. is that something you would support, the mechanism is still there? and how would that affect our ability to deal with countries that we're working so closely with such as jordan, which is my example? >> senator, i appreciate the question. i'm not familiar enough to be able to address it specifically. i'm happy to get back to you with an answer, though. >> no, sir, i appreciate that. how does it affect, in your opinion, our ability to work with muslim countries, for example, when people like general michael flynn has publicly called islam a political ideology, not a religion, saying that it's like cancer and the fear of muslims as rational. that can't be constructive to our foreign policy, to our diplomacy with key countries in southeast asia as well as the middle east. >> my experience, senator, has been the best relationships in
which you can make progress on tough issues is built on mutual respect of one another, which then leads to hopefully mutual trust. just as we want to be trusted, whether we're christians or we practice the faith of judaism, or whatever our religious faith may be, and in this country we have the freedom to practice that in any way we want. we want to be respected for that as well. but that relationship has to be built on a mutual respect for each other and not a judgment about one's faith. >> sir, i'm really grateful -- not that i'm surprised at all, but i'm grateful for you putting forth those very important values. could you answer me this, what do you think it does to our enemies' ability to push forth more propaganda about the west, or incite more radicalism when
you hear these evil terrorist organizations -- what do you think it does to their recruiting efforts when rhetoric like that comes from the highest levels of leadership in our country? >> well, i think these radical islamic factions that we've been talking about, whether it's isis or al-qaeda, they have broad networks, obviously putting in place. that's what we've got to disrupt. we've got to disrupt their ability to reach large numbers of people who could be persuaded. that's what i have spoken to earlier with new tools to advance our 5bability to do tha. >> clearly sharing with other muslim nations, cooperating with them, creating those relationships is important to encountering isil. demeaning their faith not only does it make it difficult to deal with your allies, but incite potential radicalism, correct? >> my expectation is we're going
to be able to reengage with our friends and allies in the renal. not just the middle east. i think as you pointed out, there are large muslim population in southeast asia, indonesia, malaysia, other important countries in that part of the world where we have serious issues of common interest as well. >> again, there is much about our conversation privately i appreciate and much about your testimony i appreciate as well. one thing we discussed was how important usa id is when we were together. i have real concerns now having been around the globe, seeing the powerful impact, the usa id is making for really certain human dignity. i really worry that the budget has been cut -- the base international affairs budget which includes funding to state and usa id has been repeatedly cut 30% adjusted for inflation since fiscal year 2010, despite the fact that across multiple bipartisan administrations
there's always been a broad agreement supporting usa id and the state department is a moral economic and strategic perspective. i just want to hope that you will be especially -- i've read a lot about the way you ran your business, streamlining and the like. i hope a priority for you is a more robust usa id program. is that something i have -- could you give me reason to hope? >> i hope what you're after is more effective programs with better use of the taxpayers' dollars to the extent we are good at that and we have even greater opportunity, then we should seek additional funding. but there will be a complete and comprehensive review of how effective we are with the dollars over there. usa id as i said, is an important part of the projection of america's values around the world. we're going to have, i think there is a joint strategic plan that is required between the state department and usa id in
fiscal year 2017. that's going to be a perfect opportunity for me and those who will be working with me if i'm confirmed over at the state department, to take a comprehensive look at the effectiveness, and what our -- what are our ranges of opportunities out there that might argue for greater funding. so, i want to be effective with the program and make sure that as we are using the taxpayers' dollars they're delivering a result we're proud of. >> that's what i expect. i was a mayor, chair was a mayor. we know spending more money on a problem doesn't necessarily mean you're dealing with it effectively. if you have effective programs strategic as well as human rights advantage, sir, i'm a low man on the totem pole and i am done with my time. >> you had an extra minute this morning so go ahead. your comment on the totem pole now, you have the mic. >> if only people told me this committee is so magnanimous as it is. sir, i'm going to use my last
few seconds. i'm not sure if we're going to have another round. we're not. my ranking -- >> if by agreement with others if i could, there's been i think a request to all members asking. i know there are some members that wasnt to go another round and we'll make that available to them today. >> my thoughts to my ranking member and i'll wait for his instruction. in the few seconds i have left, i want you to know this is probably one of the more important positions on the planet earth, the one to which you are nominated for. it's not just about always -- it is obviously looking for america's interest and strategic advantage, but it's about american values, values of human rights, values of taking care of poor and marginalized people and i am -- expect that you at some point will be confirmed and i look forward to working with you to asserting those values of human dignity as well as american interests abroad. so, thank you, sir. >> if i might, mr. chairman, before you call on the next witness for my members, there are some additional questions
that members asked second rounds when we'll try to give you the time. it is possible we all cooperate, we might be able to complete this hearing this evening and not go into tomorrow. that's what we're trying to do. obviously we have to complete it by 6 o'clock because we have business on the floor at 6 o'clock. >> i saw the look of disappointment on m mr. tillerson's face. [ laughter ] >> as i understand it, senator rubio will have additional questions. senator menendez, senator sha hee n has a little bit, little bit. for those members who -- senator risch. we may be here tomorrow, but it looks like we're going to try to finish this evening if everybody can cooperate. and again, if that's not the case as we all know, we're perfectly willing to come back tomorrow. >> and i appreciate the chair. he's been very open about that and it's been very helpful. we also have members that have not had their second round yet. >> and now to senator portman.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. and again, mr. tillerson, thanks for your willingness to be patient and answer the questions as you have with candor and appreciate your willingness to serve. one thing we didn't talk about this morning in my questions was the middle east, and i know you've had a lot of experience in the middle east, particularly you have done business in many of the arab countries. we talked about this a little in our meeting, but this relationship we have with israel is a special one, of course, it's the cornerstone of our strategy in the middle east. they are our greatest ally in the middle east. one through democracy. i want to talk to you about our views of israel and the israel relationship. one important issue is the boycott, bds movement, global movement targeting israel.
i've been concerned about this. ben tar ton and i have passed legislation in this regard to try to push back against the bds forces. recently, of course, with the consent of the obama administration, the u.n. security council passed this resolution condemning the settlements and demanding israel cease all activities in the occupied palestinian territories including east jerusalem is the way the resolution reads. i think this will no doubt galvanize additional bds activity. and, so, here's my question to you. would you make it a prior to counter boycott divestment and sanctions against israel? make sure israel is not held to a double standard, but instead treated as a normal member of the international community? >> yes, i would. >> any preliminary thoughts as to how you would do that? >> well, i think just by raising it and our interactions with countries that do put in place provisions that boycott whatever
elements of activity or business with israel in their country, that we begin by highlighting that we oppose that and just expressing that view. and that those countries need to understand that it does shade our view of them as well, then. one of the things that would, i think, help change the dynamic obviously would be if there were a change in the dynamic regionally. today, because of iran and the threat that iran poses, we now find that israel, the u.s. and the arab neighbors in the region all share the same enemy. this gives us an opportunity to find -- to discuss things that previously i think could not have been discussed. >> do you find more support among the sunni countries because of that dynamic?
>> i don't want to speak to them, but clearly i think there is much more sharing going on between the leaders of those countries as they confront this singular threat to the whole region. >> that's my sense and i think it's an opportunity on bds, we do have legislation that ties trade negotiations to dismantling bds. would you support that legislation? it's the law of the land and as we conduct trade negotiations, would you support using those negotiations to help dismantle the bds efforts in those countries? >> from the standpoint of the state department's view if confirmed, i would advocate for that position as well, recognizing there's other agencies that would really have the purview over that. >> what attitude do you take toward the u.n.'s initiatives regarding the palestinian conflict? is it your intention to press the palestinians to resume negotiations with israel rather than seeking to negotiate through international bodies such as the u.n.? what's your position on that? >> i think, as i've expressed in answers to a couple other
questions -- and i want to be brief because i realize we're trying to get through questions quick. this issue has to be settled between the israelis and the palestinians. no one can be coerced into coming to the negotiating table. that will not lead to a solution. i support the parties being allowed to deal with this, speaking for themselves. >> with regard to syria, complicated obviously, in my view it's been made worse by our inaction and specifically drawing red lines and not honoring them. but also not establishing safe zones and no-fly zones. as you know, russia's entry into syria's civil war has helped turn the tide decisively. now you have russia more involved in this assad or iran hezbollah access has been strengthened. yet complicated, it is over there. an enemy of that axis would be isis. one of my questions for you, would you under any circumstance advise any cooperation with iran where we might have a confluence
of interest, namely in confronting isis? >> that is an an area that requires exploration. i think earlier i indicated that that's where we've got to find a way to engage in the overall peace process or the cease fire process that's been agreed by russia, turkey, syria and with iran's involvement as well. can we get engaged in that? can we at least stabilize the situation regarding the rebel activity with the syrian government and turn all our attention on isis? that remains to be seen, and that will involve, obviously, the engagement of others as well and input from others as well. >> do you think russia has an interest or desire in this counsel inflict to push back against isis or do you think they are simply in syria to help assad's regime? >> i think it has provided a convenient open door for russia to now establish a presence in the middle east, a region it has long been absent from.
having said that, though, there are common threads that russia faces because of terrorist organizations and radical islam themselves. i've seen statistics that are significant, the significant fighters in isis are all speaking russian as a language. that indicates russia has got a problem as well in terms of where those people came from and where they may go back home to. so, i think their scope for discussion -- this is what i allude to earlier -- we will have to see what russia's posture is. are they looking for a partnership with us where we can try to reestablish some type of a positive working relationship, or are they uninterested in that? >> again, incredibly complex situation in a difficult part of the world. my sense is russia has not followed through on its statements with regard to pushing back on isis and syria and, in fact, have focused on simply protecting assad's regime. again, thank you for your willingness to step forward into
some of these complicated situations. we are looking forward to the opportunity to working together with you going forward, and i wish you the best luck. >> thank you. >> thank you. senator markly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i have ten articles, i mentioned one or two earlier i'd like to submit for the record related to exxon's involvement regarding sanctions and russia's activity in ukraine. >> without objection. >> thank you. i wanted to turn to climate, the environment and, of course, you received many, many questions today and we talked about this some in my office, i think is a reflection on how important it is. as we look down a few generations from now, people will say, here was a major threat to the planet. what did you all do? and you noted earlier in your conversation with the chairman that our ability to correct the impacts of climate change are very limited. but i believe that when i met with you, you indicated that, but you also indicated that
while we can't model with certainty, that shouldn't bother people too much the fact that we have a risk and challenge, we shouldn't let that go. and i think my view is it is a serious risk and we need to take steps to address it. is that a fair accounting of how you view it? >> yes, sir. i think what i said is the fact we cannot predict with precision and certainly all of the models that we discussed that day, none of them agree, doesn't mean that we should do nothing. >> one of the things i've seen in my time here in the senate as we've gone from talking about models in the future to talking about what's happening on the ground right now, in my state the forests are burning at a much faster rate due to pine expansion and additional heat and dryness. over on the coast, the oysters are having trouble reproducing because the ocean is 30% more acidic than before we started burning fossil fuels. in senator sha hee n's state, the moose are dying because of
the ticks. i think accurately the lowest average land level in the country and very concerned about the advancing sea level and storms and experience that in hurricane sandy. so, every one of us in our states are seeing effects on the ground. as we see that, we know we're just at the beginning of these impacts, they're getting worse each year. but we are also viewing often climate change as a national security issue. and since you believe -- so, i wanted to ask, do you see it as a national security issue? >> i don't see it as the imminent national security threat that perhaps others do. >> one of the things that's noted is how the changing climate in the middle east concentrated syrian villages into the towns and sparked the civil war that has now produced something like 4 million and
counting refugees, having profound impacts on european securities. and that would be an example. is that something you've looked at or considered to be real or perhaps misleading or any thoughts in that regard? >> the facts on the ground are indisputable in terms of what's a happening with drought, disease, insect populations, all the things you cite. the science behind the clear connection is not, is not conclusive. and there are many reports out there that we are unable yet to connect specific events to climate change alone. >> what we're seeing are a lot of scientific reports that will say, we can tell you the odds increased. we can't tell you any specific event is a direct consequence. for example, hurricane sandy might have occurred in a 100 year period. the odds are higher with the higher sea level and higher energy in the storms.
do you agree with that viewpoint, that essentially the odds of dramatic events occurring, whether it's more forest fires or more hurricanes with more power is a rational observation from the scientific literature? >> i think as you indicated that there is some literature out there that suggests that. there is other literature that says it's inconclusive. >> one of the things -- i'm sorry to hear that viewpoint because it's overwhelmingly the scales are on one side of this argument, and i he hope you'll continue to look at the scientific literature and take it seriously. one of the things that you mentioned was it was impressive that so many countries came together in paris as a part of a global effort to take this on. and that was an important out come, that there is a global conversation. i just want to make sure that i'm capturing correctly your impression of paris.
>> as i've stated before in my statements around climate change and responses to it, that it will require a global response in the countries that attempt to influence this by acting alone are probably only harming themselves. so, the global approach was an important step, and i think also as i indicated in response to a question earlier, i think it's important that the u.s. maintain a seat at that table so that we can also judge the level of commitment of the other 189 or so countries that are around that table and, again, adjust our own course accordingly. >> is this a case where really american leadership in the world matters? we rarely see big efforts to take on global problems unless america is driving the conversation. do you think it's important for america to drive this conversation? >> well, i think it's important for us to have a seat at the table. but i also think it's important that others need to step forward and decide whether this is important to them or not.
if america is the only one that's willing to lead, my conclusion is the rest of the world doesn't think it's very important. >> we saw on the sanctions on iran, it was america that led and we brought the rest of the world to the table. we saw leading up to paris, china is committed to producing as much renowable power as our entire electricity production in the united states. we've seen india now talking about how to shift, providing electricity to 300 million people who don't have it and doing it primarily or shifting from primarily a coal strategy to renewable energy strategy. so, we're seeing big countries with big populations that have far smaller carbon footprints in the united states stepping up and shouldn't we step up as well? >> i think the united states has stepped up. as i indicated earlier, i think the united states has a record over the last 20 years of which it can be quite proud. >> thank you. and it sounds like that means you think we should keep, not just being at a table. to be at a table you can be silent. but be active and participant
and taking on this challenge? >> i think it is important we engage in that conversation so, as i said, we have a clear view of what others are doing and actions they're taking. >> thank you. am i out of time? >> you are. if you'd like to take 30 seconds. >> earlier -- thank you. i'll take those 30 seconds. earlier we talked about the exxon working with a subsidiary to bypass american sanctions and do business with iran. and you said you didn't have knowledge of it, hadn't heard about it. have you participated in any exxon meetings in which you strategized or individuals strategized to find a legal path to do business with nations on which we had sanctions? >> no. >> thank you. >> thank you. senator rish. >> thank you. mr. tillerson, several questions ago in an answer, you stated -- and i was delighted to hear that, that you had reservations
occasionally when the united states asked what was going happen afterwards when a regime changed. that was a refreshing view. i sit on this committee, and intelligence committee, we hear appropria proposals all the time. we hear of actions people want to take all the time, but they can't answer the question of, okay, what's going to happen next. and that is something i hope you will remain committed to while you're at this job and when you're sitting at that table and those decisions are being made, i hope you'll insist that people tell you what's going to happen next because we have been very, very short on strategy after being able to topple a regime. if we want to do it we can do it. we have the power to do it. but then what comes next? everyone for a long time around here, i heard, well, we're going to do nation building and everything is going to be
wonderful, it's going to be a new america when we're done with them. you know, the nation building was a great strategy in the world war ii oor a and it worked. that strategy isn't working any more. we have been notoriously unsuccessful in attempting -- in attempting to do nation nation building. part of it is because there's a lot of reasons for it. obviously one of them is that we're operating in countries where the culture is so much different than ours, very different from the landscape in world war ii and after world war ii. so, again, i want to encourage you to take that question to the table every time, say, okay, guys, i see what you've got planned. i think it's going to work. what happens next? because that is an incredibly important decision when we decide what we're going to do. let me shift gears here for a minute. i want to talk about the iran
situation. as you know, there are a lot of us up here that were very much opposed to the deal that was cut by the current administration with iran. there's a lot of us up here that believe we're not done yet. this thing has set iran on a path towards having the nuclear weapon. it's going to be some time, i couldn't agree more, it's going to be further down the road as a result of the deal. but it gives them, in my judgment, a legal path forward if they continue to do all the things that they're required to do in the agreement and take it step-by-step and year by year and then the agreement expires and they're going to say, okay, we're done, we did everything we said we're going to do. now we're going to build a bomb. and if people object they're going to say, wait a second. you know, we negotiated in good faith. we did everything we said we were going to do. so, that's not over. but what's more concerning is the more instant question, and that is a lot of us at this table, particularly on this side
of the table, urged the administration in very clear terms, both in open hearings and in closed hearings, to push the iranians to behave themselves, to change their conduct. not just -- not quit fiddling with enrichment and what have you. these people are the primary sponsor of -- the greatest sponsor of terrorist activity in the world. when they were talking about giving them however many billion dollars it was on pallets, we said, look, these people have been financing terrorist activities when they were broke. what do you think is going to happen when we make them rich? we don't want to do that because it will interfere with what we're talking about on the nuclear deal. to me it wasn't worth the deal when they limited it just to that. when it comes to the u.n.
sanctions, the u.n. resolutions that have been passed that said you have to behave yourself or you can't launch missiles any more, one week after the thing went into effect they were launching missiles. there are a lot of us here that want to reimpose sanctions, in fact, ratchet sanctions up for their activities on terrorism, for their failure to obey the u.n. sanctions on missile activity, and the iranians are saying, no, you can't put any more sanctions on us. in fact, some people are arguing that's not the case. we believe that that -- look, the administration itself said the agreement doesn't cover those activities, it was limited to nuclear. do you have a view on that? because i think you're going to be dealing with that sooner rather than later. there are a lot of us who feel very strongly about that. if we're going to change these people's attitude about joining the world stage with the rest of civilized society, we're going to have to curtail their activities, not just in the nuclear area, but in these other
things that are just despicable acts. have you any views on that? >> i think i commented earlier one of the unfortunate effects of all the attention placed on the iran nuclear agreement i think i've heard, at least i've heard this expressed by others, resulted in a bit of a down focus on the real immediate threat today and that's iran's continued sponsorship of terrorism and terrorist organizations there in the region, most particularly support for hezbollah and hamas. so, i think we do have to keep what's important in front of us and what's i am he nent mminent us. i do look forward to taking a comprehensive look at that along with the side agreements to see what are all the elements available to us to enforce, stay informed on their activities, and are they complying with all the inspection requirements and
confirming that they're meeting the agreement. but back to your point of what happens next in the case of taking certain regimes out, the same thing is true here with this agreement. it's what happens at the end of this agreement is really the important question we've got to be asking ourselves, because the objective has not changed. iran cannot have a nuclear agreement. what happens at the end, as you point out, is they go right back to where they were, and we've not achieved our objective. so, my intention is to use the elements of this agreement that may be helpful to us in addressing the what comes next -- when this agreement is over, or what replaces it, which has to be we have once and for all blocked iran's path to a nuclear weapon because they've agreed they are no longer going to pursue one because they have no reason to, because we changed behaviors or we have mechanisms in place that will prevent them from pursuing that. that will be a difficult
negotiation because it is in the context of their continued sponsorship of terrorism around the world. we can't just work this and turn a blind eye to that. it is a complicated discussion, but i think we do have to take that approach with them. we're not going to do a one-off deal with you, that over here is not happening. it has to be looked at in full view, and we just have to be honest and acknowledge it. >> and that's exactly what happened. i'm encouraged to hear you say that. lets me warn you about one thing. i sit on this committee, i sit on the intelligence committee, and i have not seen the side agreements, nor has any member of the united states congress seen the side agreements. i've traveled to the u.n. operations in vienna and met with the ieea. they will not let you see those side agreements. these people were voting for -- the people who voted for that iran agreement did so on an
agreement that, part of which we weren't able to see. so, i wish you well. we've had one witness who said she was in the room where they have the side agreements and they were passing them around and she touched them as they went by, but did not read them. so, she wasn't able to tell us either what was in the side agreements. i wish you well. if you get your hands on the side agreements, give me a call, would you, because i'd like to join you and have a look. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you. senator kaine. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. tillerson, for your fortitude and patience. i think it bodes well for the riggers of the secretary of state. senator risch has taken us on a tour of the jpoa. i thought i'd go back to an important point you referenced in passing. i believe earlier today you said one of the failings of the deal is it does not deny iran the ability to purchase a nuclear weapon and my diligent staff has reminded me that the nuclear
nonproliferation treaty does prohibit the purchase of a nuclear weapon. more importantly the jpcoa which i have in provision three of the general provisions at the very front says iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons. my general approach to this agreement has been distrust in verifying. i couldn't agree with you more that iran -- >> wolf blitzer in the situation room. we are watching the senate committee on foreign relations. the confirmation hearings of rex tillerson who has been nominated to become the next secretary of state. let's continue to monitor. >> but i didn't want to move forward without someclarity that at least the paper, at least the words on the page do say that they committed to not acquiring a nuclear weapon. that was i think one of the positives about it in addition to the inspection protocols -- >> if i could correct for the record, i misspoke. during the break i went and checked my source for that and confirmed that i