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tv   U.S. Senate Debates Rex Tillerson Nomination  CSPAN  January 31, 2017 4:00pm-6:01pm EST

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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, as i indicated a little bit earli earlier, this afternoon i had an opportunity to meet with king abdullah of jordan and during that conversation with members of the senate, there was a good deal of discussion about foreign policy challenges that i think are very much part of this debate on mr. tillerson. it was interesting to listen to king abdullah of jordan talk about his country's commitment to refugees. they have taken in refugees from many parts of that region, from iraq, from yemen, from other
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countries, and they've taken in over 600,000 refugees from syria. i think king abdullah used the number -- if you want use it a comparable number of refugees coming into america, it would be equivalent to about 60 million refugees coming into our country. let me remind you that in syria, president obama committed to 10,000. it's literally a drop in the bucket compared to what jordan has done in accepting refugees. it just underscores even more how wrong president trump's executive order was over the weekend that put a hold on our refugees program -- refugee program and restricted travel to the united states. the vetting that goes forward in jordan in regards to refugees, it's under the auspices of the united nations, and those that are seeking refugee status, a
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very small percentage -- i understand it is less than one percent -- will actually ever get a chance to be considered for refugee status here in the united states. let me remind you that we're talking about generally women and children who are fleeing persecution, that have to establish themselves as a refugee. they go through several screening procedures. their background is thoroughly checked. they check all of the different indies as far as -- indices to make sure they have no concern. and then a small percentage of that number actually get to the united states. it takes 18 to 24 months. to date, there hasn't been any single episode of terrorism from a syrian refugee. so they are -- we have a pretty strong vetting process, the strongest in the world. that's very much -- that very much puts american security first. so it was disheartening for me to listen to king abdullah talk
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about the sacrifices his country has made. and, madam president, let me tell you, of the 650,000 refugees that jordan has taken from syria, the king indicated about 90% are integrated into the jordanian societies. they're not in camps. they are in they are schools, they are in their communities. they have been able to make sure that the refugees are well-cared for. it is a huge part of the budget. i think the king indicated about 20% of their budget deals with refugees. so that's a country that understands their regional responsibilities and international responsibilities. very much the united states has been the leader in the global community, recognizing that the flight of people, the refugees, represent not only a humanitarian requirement for the global community but also security issues. and the we have to have an orderly process for those that
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are fleeing persecution. and the united states has always been in leadership. we've been on the leadership in opening our borders. we're proud of the refugees who came to this country after world war ii from cambodia, vietnam, cuba -- there's a long list of those that have escaped persecution coming here to the united states and helping to build this great country. we recognize diversity as our strength. it's made the great nation that we are. so for all those reasons, it was very disheartening to hear president trump's announcement, executive order where he really questions whether america is committed to its traditional values, whether we're going to maintain our international leadership, whether we're going to be credible when we deal with other countries around the world to take on the responsibilities of dealing with the flight of people who are escaping persecution. i mention all this because the secretary of state is the key diplomat that we have for
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america to use america's power of persuasion, of using diplomacy, of using the tools at our disposal under the department of state, including development assistance, to how we can in fact promote those values. and we need someone who's going to be able to speak out about these policies that were announced over the weekend because they weaken america. they make us less saivment i brought this out -- they make us less safe. i brought this out that in reality what you're talking about is how do we engage other countries in the war against terror when we tell them that muslims are not welcome here in america. how do we protect americans who are traveling abroad who may be subjected to physical danger because of the statements that have been made by our president? or how do you protect this
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country from the concerns about homegrown terrorism that might in fact be encouraged, or the recruitment of terrorist terrort -- as a result of what the president has done in his executive order? so it's all the more important to have a secretary of state that's committed to the core values of this country, that it's part of their gut and they will be a strong advocate for those issues and i've already indicated that during the questioning in the senate foreign relations committee, we did not see that moral clarity in regards to mr. tillerson in regards to those values. the second issue that came up in king abdullah's meeting, it was very interesting, we had a long discussion about russia and about russia's influence. russia's influence -- we know about russia's influence in ukraine. we had a little discussion about russia's desires in regards to
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the baltics and whether the baltics could be the next ukraine, as far as russia's aggression. we know that russia is already in georgia. russia is already in moldova. russia is in ukraine. and do they have their sights now for lithuania or latvia or hestonia or poe landed land -- r poland, where there's large russian-speaking populations? well, interesting were made, if russia doesn't use that resolve. russia a few years ago had very little influence in the middle east. now it has a growing influence in the middle east, not only in syria but in other countries in that region where you see russia's active engagement. so this is not theoretical. and russia's interests are different than our interests, make no mistake about that. they don't share our values. they're not our friends.
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they're trying to compromise our democratic institutions. we've seen that over and over again, not only on the attack on our election system here in the united states, not only the attack on the system in montenegro in the parliamentary elections and their concern now in western europe as they're entering into the election season, but we see it over and over again what russia has done in denying space for civil society, in compromise dissent in their own country, in the way that corruption has been established as part of government. all of that is just against the principles that we believe in, that we believe a global community has accepted, that leads to stability in nations and advances america's national security interests. so i must tell you, there are democrats, republicans, all talking about the fact that we have to stand up to russia.
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we've got to be stronger on russia. yes, we've been able -- thanks to the leadership of the obama administration -- to take the sanctions that were passed by congress -- we passed the sanctions. the leadership of the senate and house brought about the stronger sanction regime here in the united states. i congratulate my colleague, senator menendez, who was one of the principal leaders to get stronger sanctions here in regards to russia and other members of our committee worked on that. we were able to get stronger sanctions. but, at the same time, we were able to get them -- get europe to join news these sanctions -- to join us in these sanctions, and that helped us. but now there's a concern as to whether these sanctions will remain. and president trump at least has raised that qui as to the continuation -- as to the continuation of sanctions. the question becomes, we should
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be maintaining those sanctions until russia complies with the minsk agreements that are relevant to its invasion into ukraine, but we should also be strengthening those sanctions because of russia's illegal activities in attacking our country and in what they're doing in syria in perpetrating war crimes. so we should be looking at stronger sanctions against russia. i mention all that because the person who can lead us in that effort is our next secretary of state. now, and we look at mr. tillerson and his record as the c.e.o. of exxonmobil, their relationships in russia, and his answers to questions as to whether we should consider additional sanctions. history of understand over again he says, well, there's multiple considerations, which to me was a red flag indicating well, maybe there's some business interests here. and maybe if there's some business interests, they'd let
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that be more important than the human rights advancements than the other areas we're concerned about. in reality we is that you in the way exxonmobil lobbied against the original sanctions that were imposed against russia. they lobbied against it because they said it didn't create a level playing field for u.s. companies. well, the reason it didn't create a level playing field is that the united states is always the leader on sanctions. the we always set the international -- we always set the international bar as to what we need to do. and then the rest of the world follows us. but if we take the lowest bar, we'll never do tough enough stance against russia. so we need as the next secretary of state a person who's going to be a leader in saying, look, we're going to use every one of our diplomatic tools to isolate russia if they continue this activity of interfering with our elections or threatening to interfere with european elections or interfering with
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humanitarian assistance in syria or continue their illegal occupation of crimea. we need that type of leadership, and that's one of the rngs we have been -- and that's one of the reasons we have been so much engaged in this debate. there are many other issues that we talked of with king abdullah that dealt with foreign policy challenges, including moving forward with broader coalitions against ey isis -- isis in the region. all that requires the use of all the power we have. we know that our military is very strong. we're very proud of our department of dwns, very -- we're very proud of our department of defense, very proud of our men and women that serve. we thank them every day for the sacrifices they make on behalf of our nation. we owe it to them to make sure that our military is only used as a matter of last resort, we uas you all of -- we use all of
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our tools when it's absolutely essential and a matter of last resort. we must have as our chief diplomat a person who will you carry out that strong commitment to our diplomatic skills and agenda in order to make sure that we only use military when necessary. we've heard this before, but it was general mattis who said if you don't fund the department of state, if you don't give them the resources they need for development assistance, you're going to have to give me a lot more soldiers. our diplomats can very much keep us safe, and they can do it with less risk to our men and women who serve in the military and at less cost. madam president, with that, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: madam president, i rise to speak with respect to the -- the presiding officer: senator, the senate is in a quorum call. mr. kaine: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaine: thank you. i rise to speak concerning the nomination by president trump of rex tillerson to be secretary of state. and i believe i'm going to be speaking a little bit this afternoon and then possibly later. this will just be part of my remarks this afternoon. first, i'm going to say some positive things about mr. tillerson's career and the importance of the position, but then i want to talk about the reason for my opposition which has to do largely with my concern about whether he is capable of exercising truly independent judgment on behalf of the united states, particularly given his 41-year
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career with exxonmobil. but to begin, mr. tillerson has an exemplary record with exxonmobil and i was impressed by it. i'm impressed by his business acumen. i think this one would be relatively straightforward if he had been nominated for secretary of commerce. i think it would be relatively straightforward had he been nominated for secretary of energy. and that's an interesting aspect for some of these nominations. i think there are people who are up who had been up for other positions it would be easy but i think because of where they are up it is a little more difficult. secretary of state is an enormously important position. we all know that it's important, but we even for the public separate the secretary of state position out from the others. there are four cabinet secretaries who by law are not allowed to be involved in political campaigns. they can't go out on the campaign trail during election
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season. they are debt ceiling significant nateed as special -- they are designated as special and i think they are special for a reason. secretary of defense, secretary of state, secretary of treasury and the attorney general. the reason these four positions are made separate, in my view, is they are individuals who they are positions that are supposed to have a special gravity, positions that are supposed to be above politics, and they are also positions that are supposed to have a degree of independence. an attorney general needs to have a degree of independence from a president because that individual must weigh in on the legality of actions even of the administration in making decisions. and i think the secretary of state needs some independence and gravitas as well, and that's why the secretary of state position is such a special one. and so i want to focus on this area of independence, the independence that i wanted to see in a secretary of state
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tillerson that i didn't feel comfortable enough after the research that i've done and after the hearing itself. and it fits into three basic categories. issues with respect to climate, issues with respect to russia, and issues with respect to the development policy that the united states uses in nations around the world, including very poor nations that are resource-rich but often find that their oil reserves or other natural resources put them into kind of a resource-cursed position where resources not withstanding, they actually trend toward authoritarianism and keeping their citizens in poverty. let me start with climate. climate is an enormously important issue in virginia as it is to all states, but to give you kind of virginia focus on climate issues, virginia voters overwhelmingly believe
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that humans are affecting climate and something should be done about it. we have 134 counties. the eastern part of virginia, hamilton roads, near the -- hampton roads near the atlantic is threatened next to sea livable rise. if you go there, 1.6 million people, the center of naval power in the united states and the world, what you find is sea level rise accelerated to the extent that neighborhoods where you could once sell a house, you can't sell it anymore. flooding that was once every few years is now regular. and even our nation's military operations in hampton roads are jeopardized. there is a main road leading to the largest naval base in the united states, largest naval base in the world, that road is increasingly flooded just during normal tidal conditions. we're not talking about storms. we're talking about normal tidal
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conditions. and the inability to get road access into america's center of naval power is highly challenging, highly problematic. and in the future it's going to be very, very expensive for us. the climate change issues in ham ton roads whether it's acting your ability to sell a house, to conduct naval operations and many other areas is of deep concern to my state. there are climate issues in other parts of my state from weather patterns to warming temperatures, wiping out species in the shenandoah national park because as the temperature warms and the species need to move higher and higher, at some point they can't move any higher and so there is endangered species in the shenandoah national park because of climate issues. the issue is not only important to my state, it's a critically important part of the job. the secretary of the in the previous administration was involved in crafting the paris climate accord. nearly 200 nations agreed
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climate change is a huge problem. we've got to do something about it. and each nation came forward voluntarily to craft their own plan so that the world could deal with this problem and the u.s. played a critical role, secretary kerry and others, a critical role in forging this global coalition around the overwhelming scientific consensus. the secretary of the in this administration, along with others, the e.p.a. administrator, will play a key role in determining whether we continue to take seriously climate, whether we continue to take seriously the promises that we've made under the climate accord or whether we go backwards. i don't want to go backwards because it would hurt my state and hurt our country and hurt the world. during my examination of mr. tillerson during his confirmation hearing before the senate foreign relations committee, i wasn't happy with the answers with respect to climate issues. the overwhelming majority of
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scientists say climate change is real and it's caused significantly by the burden of fossil fuels and the release of co2. this is not a controversial conclusion and shouldn't be partisan either. the first climate bill that was introduced in this body was introduced by senator mccain in 2004, and then in 2007 a predecessor of mine, senator warner of virginia -- republican -- and senator lieberman of connecticut -- democrat -- introduced a bipartisan climate bill. senator warner now retired, john warner still speaks regularly on the national security implications of climate change. during the hearing before the senate foreign relations committee, i examined rex tillerson about the role of exxonmobil in climate research. exxonmobil is a company that is chock-full of engineers and
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scientists. it's one of the most accomplished companies in the world if you just measure it by the extent of engineering and science talent that it has. and there's been a series of articles, investigative articles in the last few years in the los angeles times, the new york review of books and inside climate news that get into the question of what exxonmobil knew about climate science and what they told the public. and i wanted to ask mr. tillerson about this. some of the information that i put on the table during that examination, there was an internal letter in september of 1982 from exxon's theoretical and mathematical science laboratory -- this was during the time that mr. tillerson was working for the company, and i want to read a quote from this letter which i introduced to the record when i was examining mr. tillerson. a clear consensus emerged regarding the expected climate effects of increased atmosphere of co2. there's unanimous agreement in
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the scientific community that a temperature increase of this magnitude would bring about significant changes in the earth's climate. the time required for doubling of atmospheric co2 -- doubling of atmospheric co2 -- depends upon the future world consumption of fossil fuels. there is potential for our research to attract the attention of a popular news media because of the connection between exxon's major business and the role of fossil fuel combustion and contributing to the increase of atmospheric co2. our ethical responsibility is to permit the publication of our research in the scientific literature, indeed to do otherwise would be a breach of exxon's public position and ethical credo on honesty and integrity. in other words, by 1982, the key scientific research organizations within exxonmobil, which has a sterling cadre of scientists and
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researchers, said here is our view of the scientific research. and not just other scientific research, they did their own studies to replicate it. and they concluded that the burning of fossil fuels was going to lead potentially to a significant increase in global temperature with catastrophic climate effects. there's other information as well that exxonmobil had within it during the tenure of mr. tillerson with the company. but by 2000, exxonmobil in its face to the public was saying something very different. despite the internal recognition of climate science and the potential effects on the economy and on our atmosphere, and despite scientists with exxonmobil saying we have an ethical duty to share these facts with the scientific community, by 2000 exxonmobil was publishing a major publications in this country
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op-eds, full-page op-eds in newspapers and magazines -- and i'm going to read a quote from one. an exxonmobil published op-ed in 2000, here's a quote, "knowing that whether forecasts are reliable for a few days at best, we should recognize the enormous challenge facing scientists seeking to predict climate and its impact over the next century. geological evidence for reasons having nothing to do with human activity. against this backdrop of large poorly understood natural variability, it is impossible for sign tiforts to attribute the recent small temperature increase to human causes. so from 1982 there were scientists in exxonmobil who were aware of it and say we have a duty to share this with the public and with our fellow scientists but by 2000 in statements to the american public all during rex tillerson's tenure at exxonmobil
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the company was taking a very different position. i summarized this material during my examination of mr. tillerson before the foreign relations committee and i asked him, what do you have to say about this evidence and about the numerous public reports that exxonmobil knew about climate science but made a decision to tell the american public something different? pretty straightforward question from a senator whose state is experiencing climate change, a pretty important question for a nominee who will be in charge of, as secretary of state, carrying out our obligations under agreements such as the paris climate agreement. mr. tillersons answer was a little surprising. "i can't answer this. you're going to have to ask someone at exxonmobil." he had stepped away frequents son mobile a few days -- he had stepped away from exxonmobil a few days bever the -- before the
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hearing. you were at exxonmobil for 41 years. that's right. you were an executive at exxonmobil for more than half of your tenure there, isn't that right? that's right. you were the c.e.o. of exxonmobil beginning in 2006. am right about that? you're right about that. i am a not asking the company's position. you noe now are no longer at exxonmobil. i am asking you as somebody who is going to be in charge of carrying forward america's obligations under the paris climate accord whether the allegation that exxonmobil knew about climate science but choose to say something different to the american public, i'm going to ask you if you can answer that question. and he came back again and said, air going to have to ask somebody at exxonmobil. i then asked, madam president, mr. tillerson a really important question. i said this: are you -- do you lack the knowledge to answer my questions or are you refusing to answer my questions? and he said -- quote -- "a
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little bit of both." "a little bit of both." and i said to him, "you've been there 41 years. i have a hard time believing you don't know the answer to this question. i think you're refusing to answer my question." and he didn't comment on that. i then followed up with one more question mr. tillerson that i also think is important. i am a lawyer and i just wanted to make sure i understood this. i asked him, are you sitting here today subject to any kind of a confidentiality agreement that would prohibit you from answering the question i just posed to you? and he said, no. that he was not. now, i asked mr. tillerson these questions because i'm deeply interested in climate change. it affects my state in a significant way, and it's directly relevant to his job. but i asked hum for another -- him for another reason as well. i am going to talk for a minute
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about the reason and i'll return later this evening on the other points. the reason that i was asking mr. tillerson about this was not just his awareness of science, i was asking him to see whether at this point as a nominee for secretary of state of the united states he can set aside a 41-year loyalty to his previous employer, exxonmobil, and instead focus solely on his obligations to this country if he were to be nominated as secretary of state. i believe he knew the answer to the question that i asked him and he told me that he was not under any legal agreement that would bar him from answering my question. but he nevertheless refused to answer my question, and when i challenged him on it and said, you're refusing to answer my question, he basically agreed that that was the case. i think we are entitled to a secretary of state who can set aside any other loyalty,
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including an understandable loyalty to an employer of 41 years, and exercise complete and independent judgment on behalf of the interests of this country. and the refusal of mr. tillerson to answer my questions about a manner clearly within his knowledge, clearly within the job description of secretary of state, and deeply important to my commonwealth led me to have significant doubts about whether he could separate his previous employment for his independent obligation to this job, should he be confirmed. i am going to have more to say on a couple of other issues related to this independence point when i return later this evening, but now i would like to, mr. chairman, surrender the floor and cede time to my colleague from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: yes, the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate my colleague's contribution to his insights representing virginia and representing the united states. i must say that all of us were quite frustrated by the hearing
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that we held with rex tillerson. we know that america needs a strong and capable secretary of state. we have many great power issues to wrestle with, certainly with russia, certainly with china. we know we have many emerging powers around the globe that will raise issues relevant to the security of the united states and the economy of the united states. we know that the secretary of state plays a key role in shaping our policy towards impoverished nations and how we might facilitate their growth and enhance our relationship with them. nuclear strategy is always an extremely important role. this position is perhaps the most important position in the administration second to the presidency. and it is for that reason that we're weighing it with such intense attention. and already we've challenges
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that have been raised -- by the conduct of our president over the last 12 days. we have in 12 days seen actions by president trump that have diminished our nation's standing in the world, that have offended many of our international neighbors and alice, that have weakened -- and allies, that have weakened the security of our country. so we need a capable secretary of state. we need that person soon and certainly one piece of the pattern we have seen is a new low in the relationship with the leadership of mexico on our southern border. but we also have seen actions that have offended over a billion people in the world through the friday night executive order banning immigration from seven muslim-majority nations, along with an order affecting refugees fleeing the ravages and devastation of war in many places, but syria specifically
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singled out for a longer period of time. the president said, well, this is not in fact a muslim ban and that it's about security of the united states of america. but he has certainly -- but he is certainly wrong on both counts. all the nations singled out with all muslim-majority countries. not a single nation singled out has killed an american. there would not be exceptions for muslims. one of his advisors, rudolph giuliani, even said explicitly that the president wanted to do a you ms limb ban and had asked him how to do it legally. so the intenlts is crystal clear that this is a ban founded in religious discrimination and a policy based on religious discrimination has no place in our nation. it is completely incompatible with our tradition and our
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principles of religious liberty. and we are a nation built by immigrants, founded by men and women seeking safety from religious persecution, adding to the sense that this position is wrong and abhorrent. it goes against the fundamental building blocks of our nation and everything we stand for. but if our history and our fundamental values aren't enough, then we need to consider the danger that this ban represents for our national security. much of our efforts in the middle east involve close partnership, close teamwork with the leaders of muslim nations, taking on isis involves close coordination and close teamwork with the leadership of muslim nations. and, in fact, we should be very aware that isis uses as its recruiting tool that the united states is conduct ago war on islam -- is conducting a war on islam and the president's
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actions feed directly in and serve the isis recruiting strategy. and the world has reacted with furor. over the weekend more than 4,000 oregonians atnded a -- attend add pair of my town hall meetings. the first was in a room about this size. i was astounded to see 600 people just jammed in, just crowding it. it was the largest town hall i've ever had and i do 36 town halls every year. then i went to my second town hall and it wasn't 600 folks. it was 3,700 people turned out just because they heard that a senator was holding a town ham hall and -- a town hall and they wanted to make their voices heard about how wrong they thought it was that spret headed and a key piece of that was certainly his ban on muslims entering our nation. and protests erunted at --
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erupted at airports all across our country. i went out on sunday to the portland airport and been informally organized protest at 2:00 and i got out there about 2:15 and people were pouring in and there may have been somewhere around 1,000 people by the time that i could get out into the upper-level deck of the two levels of the airport, the level at which people were arriving for their flights and be able to speak to people. but the condemnation and opposition didn't just come from the grass roots across america. it didn't just come from the spontaneous voices of american citizens who value religious liberty, and wanted to send a message to president trump that he was violating etche each andy one of those things. that opposition came loud and clear from international leaders swrl. *7 -- as well. our canadian neighbors made sure the world knew that they welcome
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the immigrants and refugees that america has slammed the door on. german chance letter merkel called the president to remind him of his responsibilities to take in refugees. quite impair acing that a european leader has to call an american president to educate him about the general general convention. france's president has called for a firm european response to this ban. the united kingdom, whose prime minister theresa may, just meat with president trump last week, came out against the order and more than a million brilliance signed a -- brittance signed a petition to rescind president trump's visit. nation after nation have come out to protest this terrible and dangerous policy. it is going to be up to our next
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secretary of state to repair and rebuild these relationships and the reputation of the united states of america. so much damage done in just 12 days. my colleague senator mccain and senator graham said in a statement this weekend, this executive order sends a signal intended or not that america does not want muslims coming into our country, and indeed it does. so is rex tillerson the right individual to set our nation back on a firm and steady course? is he the right person to guide us through this volatile international landscape where we need to rebuild alliances and restore leadership? in short, the answer is that rex tillerson is not the right man to do it. 40 years in the oil and gas
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market, 40 years in an oil company are good preparation for leading an oil company but not good preparation for leading the united states of america in international relations, not good preparation for serving as their top diplomat, putting out fires, calming fears, communicating our policy to the world in this volatile moment in history. during the hearing, there were a series of questions really related to one's moral compass in leading the foreign policy of the united states of america. one of the questions that i asked about was exxon's effort to set up a subsidiary to evade american sanctions on iran and what did he feel about that as a leader of ex-song. -- of exxon. the and he responded by saying, i don't have any memory of this.
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really? the top management of the exxon decides to set up a subsidiary to circumvent american sanctions on iran with a great deal of national security at stake, and you have no memory? well, that was certainly a disappointing comment and unbelievable statement. or how about when we asked him about exxon lobbying against u.s. sanctions on russia because of its annexation of crimea and holding of territory in the eastern part of ukraine? on this, he said, oh, exxon didn't lobby on this. and yet the lobbying reports are right there. we have transparency on this. millions of dollars spent lobbying on this issue, and they certainly weren't lobbying for u.s. sanctions. so this was a second
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extraordinary statement by the nominee. and then i asked the nominee about exxon's pattern working with dictators to take the royalties for oil and funneling them to the dictator's family rather than to the treasury. and this is particularly true in equitorial guinea where the dictator there has declared himself president for life. and his response was simply, but, senator, we weren't successfully prosecuted for violating the law. that is not a statement related to moral exs -- compass and understanding. certainly when a company takes a nation's treasure and diverts it into the pocket of the dictator, you are affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and certainly the people of equitorial guinea are
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a poor people who can use those resources for health care, transportation systems. the president of equitorial guinea is famous for filling a plane with sports cars bought in europe and flying them to equitorial guinea. how does he do that? because exxon steered the royalties of that nation's oil into the pockets of the dictator. but we didn't get any sense that there was any concern about the impact this had had on the people of that nation. and so members of the committee asked him about the extrajudicial killings by police officers in the philippines, extra judicial killings ordered by president duarte. young men shot on the street, i think at last count, an estimate of 4,000 to 6,000 young men as sass nateed on the streee street, and he simply said i need to get more information. well, this is not something that's been hidden on the back pages of a newspaper.
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this is something fundamentally contrary to the principles of due process and justice that our nation stands for. couldn't the nominee had expressed that this is completely in violation of our core principles? but he had no ability to do so. and then we come to global warming. an impact that is occurring right now on the ground in my state where the burning of coal and oil and natural gas, accumulation of carbon dioxide and accumulation of methane is resulting in acidification of the ocean that is causing oysters to have difficulty reproducing because it affects their formation of shells at the beginning of their life, the higher acidity makes it harder to form those shells. we see global warming on the ground in oregon in terms of a
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longer fire season and more intense fire. they're burning far more fierce than before. we see it in terms of a lower average snowpack in the cascades that is causing significant drought and smaller and warmer trout streams. so this isn't some strange if he the senator -- some strange phe. we have high tides covering sidewalks of cities on sunny days. we have moose dying of ticks because it is not cold enough to kill the ticks in the winter. we have lobsters off maine traveling up farther into canada while they start to get fish from the carolinas. it's everywhere we look, it impacts the economy of our country, and particularly our rural economy of fishing and forestry and farming. but his response was simply we need to keep talking to people about it. he says it's an issue not particularly urgent, not
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necessitating american leadership. just something we should be at the table for. not at the table to urge others. just to be at the table. that certainly misses the size of this challenge to our planet. so here we are, 12 days into the presidency, major international problems occurring and a nominee who on issue after issue after issue lacked a moral compass or insight about the complexity of issues, about the principles of our nation. so for these reasons, i am voting against the nominee, and i may well be back to extend my remarks another moment. but i am delighted to yield to my colleague from new mexico who is standing by to make his remarks.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: mr. president, thank you for the recognition, and senator merkley, thank you very much for your yielding. i have been here on the floor listening to senator kaine, senator merkley. i saw senator cardin, from my office earlier. and i think you can see that many of us that sat through these hearings and heard the answers, it didn't give us a lot of confidence that rex tillerson was able to step in and be the top diplomat for the united states of america. so i join in many of the comments that have been made earlier. i want to talk a little bit about one of the issues that's developed in the last couple of days that i think really has bearing on this. you know, for the last century the united states has led the world stage.
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we are the inspiration for countless nations, as they nurture hopeful democracies, democracies that respect human rights and individual liberties. we're a nation of freedom where men and women can work hard, build a happy, healthy life, live the american dream. and that is what makes president trump's anti-muslim, anti-immigrant actions last week so repugnant. i believe his actions violate the constitution. they also violate everything we stand for as a country. turning our backs on refugees and those seeking a better life doesn't project strength. it shows weakness. it fumes anti-american rage around the world. our nation doesn't punish innocent people because of what they believe and who they pray to. we don't slam the door in the faces of those who need help the
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most. and i call on all of us, especially my colleagues across the aisle, to denounce this action and the people behind it. and i'm relieved that federal judges around the nation are blocking the president's unconstitutional order, and i'm also very proud of our strong constitutional system of checks and balances. and i can't tell you how proud i am of sally yates, the acting attorney general who was fired -- fired -- by president trump. you've got to know something about her. this is a very courageous person who stood up and did the right thing. sally yates is a career prosecutor. she served as a u.s. attorney in the u.s. attorney's office under democrats and republicans, career prosecutor where she received -- when she was put up for a vote here in the senate, she got 84 votes in the united
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states senate when she was approved for deputy attorney general of the united states. so this is someone who understands what's going on, understands the constitution, and understands her legal obligations. and she stood up and said she wasn't going to represent in court the president on this muslim ban. and he fired her. fired her. these kinds of actions are disturbing. they're un-american acts. and they are the most urgent reason i rise today to say that i cannot support confirming rex tillerson as secretary of state. mr. president, there's no doubt that mr. tillerson was qualified to run exxonmobil. exxon was his first job out of college, and the only company he worked for during his 40-year career in oil and gas, in the oil and gas industry. and there's no doubt that
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mr. tillerson as c.e.o. and chair of exxonmobil was 100% committed to making sure the best interests of the company's shareholders were served. but with no diplomatic experience or history of public service, i'm not confident that mr. tillerson is qualified to serve as the united states chief diplomat. and after studying his work and studying the history and his responses at confirmation hearing and looking at his answers in writing, i do not believe that mr. tillerson is able to commit 1100% to -- commit 100% to serving the best interest of the american people. negotiating the complexities of oil and gas deals is not the same as negotiating the complexities of treaties and agreements with foreign governments. exxonmobil's top priority is
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profit. that is its reason for existence. leaders negotiate business deals over money and access to resources. the united states, the american people have different priorities, sometimes conflicting priorities. our nation is economically successful for sure. we value business and we value making money. but our core values go way beyond economics. we value representative government. we value human rights. we value freedom of speech. we value the four freedoms that president roosevelt talked about and we entered into international agreements to spread the four freedoms around the world. and in the incoming -- and incoming secretary of state should not be learning on the job. he or she should already have substantial relevant experience. he or she should already have
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proven experience fighting for our nation's core values, for human rights. mr. tillerson made it clear during his hearing before the senate foreign relations committee that he lacks substantive foreign policy experience and knowledge. he told the committee many times that he was not familiar with the issues at hand or needed briefing. he must have said that a number of times. and just one example, mr. tillerson was unfamiliar with russia's role in the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in syria. he had no opinion of the legality of the slaughter under international law. these are some of the most important, most urgent foreign policy matters we face, but he was unprepared to answer them. like senators on both sides of the aisle, i'm concerned that mr. tillerson's close personal business ties to the russian
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government, i'm concerned about those. they may color his view of russia. he has been long friends with vladimir putin. he has a highly profitable relationship with igor sechin, head of the state owned oil company roznof. i worry it may make it impossible for him to objectively evaluate russia's actions and to act in america's best interest. are his close ties to russia why he does not condemn russia's actions in syria? we cannot be sure. mr. tillerson also will not confirm whether he will advocate maintaining sanctions against russia for invading crimea. we know that the sanctions also continue to cost exxonmobil because it is not able to drill for oil in russia's arctic. will mr. tillerson not commit to maintaining sanctions because of his ties to russia? we cannot be sure.
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and a third example, mr. tillerson would not commit to sanctions against russia for its interference in our presidential election. he said he didn't have enough information. well, every u.s. security agency, all 17 of them, has concluded that the russian government hacked the democratic national committee, disclosed e-mails from the hack from getting in there, and tried to influence our election. they agreed that these actions were authorized at the highest levels of the russian government with fingers pointing right at vladimir putin. and the intelligence community's public reports stated it this way -- and i'm quoting now at this point -- "we assess russian president vladimir putin ordered an influence campaign in
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2016 aimed at the u.s. presidential election. russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the u.s. democratic process, denigrate secretary clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. we further assess putin and the russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect trump. now president trump. we have high confidence in these judgments." so 17 of our intelligenceys pooled together all of their information. they had high confidence in what they concluded. mr. tillerson had the ability to make a statement in favor of american democracy. he did not make such a statement. we must have a secretary of state whose allegiance is 100% committed to u.s. interest.
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mr. tkhreufrpb's aoe -- tillerson's equivocating testimony on russia did not convince me he was interested in america's interest only. mr. tillerson's -- interference in our democracy. while the president has plans to dismantle the post-world war ii international order, republicans have done nothing to address russia's attempt to dismantle our democracy. mr. president, i was also unsatisfied by mr. tillerson's answers on climate change. while he acknowledges the existence of climate change, he testified that, and i quote -- "our ability to predict that effect is very limited and what action to take seems to be the largest area of debate existing in public discourse." end quote. that's not what the overwhelming
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majority of scientists tell us. our ability to predict what is happening to the planet's climate is not very limited, and there is international consensus written into the paris agreement what actions nations agree they must take. scientists from all over the world have joined together through the united nations and said climate change is real, we've got to take specific actions. i appreciate that rex tillerson at least said he believes the united states should remain at the table, but he questioned a key part of the paris agreement -- the nationally determined contribution, or what is called the n.d.c. without the n.d.c. from the united states, the agreement is likely to fall apart and his claims support for the paris agreement becomes meaningless. i cannot be clearer -- ignoring
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the threat of climate change is a direct threat to the united states. you've heard other senators talk about the threat to their states, and it's a direct threat to my home state of new mexico. while president trump may be trying to quiet our climate scientists, the science is clear. climate change is real. we just finished the hottest year in recorded history, we know we must act and we know there will be devastating impacts if the united states does not lead on this issue. mr. president, no matter what you believe about science or foreign policy, we should all be alarmed at the lack of transparency in the new administration, especially the unwillingness of our president and key cabinet members to be open an honest with taxpayers -- and honest with taxpayers about their finances and potential conflicts. while mr. tillerson divested
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from exxonmobile we still don't have copies of his tax returns. mr. tillerson's ties to exxonmobile are decades old, yet he said he will recuse himself from matters related to exxonmobile for only one year. he worked for this company his entire life. he should refrain from taking calls from his old company for as long as he serves as secretary of state. he's serving the country. he's serving in a taxpayer funded job. i don't understand why he cannot agree to this seup simple stand. if he deals favorably with exxonmobile how can the american people know he is working for us or his former employer who made him an extremely wealthy man. but most concerning to me, mr. president, is whether mr. tillerson will be able to speak truth to power. we have just seen this weekend
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how vital that will be in this administration where it appears that there is no unifying vision and different factions of president trump's cabinet are competing for his attention. we need a leader with a clear vision for america's role in the world, someone who will put american values ahead of everything else. too many times when pressed during his confirmation hearing about u.s. interests and values, mr. tillerson did not give straight answers. on questions, such as human rights violations in the philippines an syria, he did not call out these offenses for what they were. on questions of whether we should maintain sanctions again russia for illegally invading crimea, he deferred, wavered, he said he would decide at a later date when he could be briefed or meet with the president. if mr. tillerson can't give
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straight answers from the heart about the most pressing human rights issues on violations of international law, on a foreign power's interference with our presidential election, how can we expect him to speak up an temper the worst angels in the trump administration. if mr. tillerson were the nominee for a more conventional president, these concerns would not be as serious, but i think every senator can agree that drum is not a conventional ally. he is upending allies on a nearly daily basis. he made negative statements about the german chancellor's domestic policies, he is threatening to extort the mexican government to pay for an ineffective wall. he has continued to question
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nato. he has threatened to slash funding for the united nations, including the world health organization which fights global pandemics. while addressing employees of the central intelligence agency, standing in front of a wall honoring professionals who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, president trump threatened to take iraq's oil. that he wanted to take another look at taking iraq's oil. he had this in a quote -- to the victor go the spoils. this is a line attributed to julius caesar. he began to rattle the sabre with china before he was sworn in. the president has done all of this while repeatedly praising vladimir putin as a strong leader and proposing to improve
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relations there while making them worse nearly everywhere else. and this weekend he closed americans' doors to muslim refugees, trying to escape the very evil our government is the fighting against. he not only closed the doors to people who believe in our democratic institutions and the freedoms we enjoy, he closed doors to people who have risked their lives in service of our ideals. these are not normal changes in foreign policy between administrations. i would change many aspects of u.s. foreign policy if i could, but president trump's approach to foreign policy, so far, is one of reckless change that is, frankly, scaring the american public and our allies around the world. such a foreign policy environment we need experienced, skilled hands, people who understand these allies, that understand our long-standing
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alliances and why we have them. but the president has fired all u.s. ambassadors and the most high-level state department employees have resigned or been forced out. mr. tillerson is no doubt a talented businessman. he loves his country, he has devoted himself to other wortsy causes -- worthy causes like the boy scouts. it is no exaggeration to say that the post-world war ii international order is under attack by the president, endangering u.s. leadership in the world, as a result our place in the world is threatened. we need a leader as our chief diplomat who is prepared to take the reigns and calm the waters, but i do not have confidence that mr. tillerson has the experience, knowledge, values, or temperament to stand up to the president, to be a voice of reason, to moderate the
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president's extreme views and actions. for these reasons, mr. president, i oppose mr. tillerson's confirmation as secretary of state, and i urge my fellow members, including those who claim the mantle of president reagan, to do the sa same. and i know my good friend, senator markey, who is on the senate foreign relations committee with me is on the floor and also my other member is on the floor. both of them i think will speak on the tillerson nomination. i yield to senator coons. coonthe presiding officer: the distinguished senator from dell wear. mr. coons: after two long one-on-one meetings were mr. rex tillerson and after a confirmation hearing that stretched some nine hours and after reading and digging into his record, his public
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statements and his views, i announced last week that i would oppose the nomination of rex tillerson to be secretary of the united states. i will say that over our meetings, our conversations, and my review of his record, i have come to respect mr. tillerson as a thoughtful and seasoned and capable professional in his line of work with impressive international business experience. and i will say that his quick action and his ties with exxonmobile as a strong example that i wish president trump would have referred to his own private interests. i found encouraging some of mr. tillerson's statements in the confirmation hearing and his public stances, including his commitment to nato, -- the paris climate change agreement to the iran deal and his support for the development programs throughout the world, but especially in africa, a
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continent i have been engaged in my six years on the senate foreign real estates committee. his nomination has the support of highly respected former officials from bob gates to james baker and condoleezza ri rice. mr. tillerson and i disagree, strongly, on key issues. i believe, for example, that climate change is a pressing national security threat that must be addressed. mr. tillerson saw it somewhat differently. i believe in advocating for human rights, for a free press and for democracy around the world because these principles advance our security and our economic interests here at home. i don't believe that human rights, press freedom and democracy are add-ons, are things that we can address and deal with after national security is addressed. these are core to who we are as
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a nation and to the advocacy an engagement i hope for and expect from our state department and our next secretary of state. these are just a few of the reasons why ultimately i decided to oppose mr. tillerson's confirmation, but that's not why i come to the floor today. mr. president, i'm here today principally because the challenge we face is not whether a single nominee is the perfect person for this particular role. the challenge we, the american people, now face is to determine the future we seek for our country on the world stage and whether we will choose to continue to lead the free world. do we envision the united states leading by example through actions that show we will stand by our values, especially when it is challenging or difficult? do we envision the united states leading a coalition of democratic allies animus limb -- and muslim partners around the
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world on the global fight on terrorism, defending each other and defending human rights and democracy? or do we accept a dark vision that sees the world in strict zero-sum worlds where any win for our allies and partners is a loss for america, a vision in which we could abandon our values or political gain, a vision that distances us with both a literal wall and a growing gulf in priorities. for decades republicans and democrats have agreed on foundational principals of -- principles of u.s. leadership in the world. we engage with the world. we con sistantly and -- consistently support our allies. we lead by example, especially on our core values. we fight for the rule of law and democratic institutions because doing so makes us safer and more secure. consider our alliances.
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the heritage foundation accurately pointed out that supporting our allies overseas, and in particular our treasured and enduring alliance with our nato partners in western europe, isn't charity, but rather a proven method for keeping the united states safe and secure. as heritage put it is alliances prevent war by driving up the cost of aggression. alliances deter our rivals and adversaries. alliances promote stability, help us project power and enhance our legitimacy. why does this matter? why is this a current matter of debate? why is this a pressing concern in the context of this nomination and in the work of this body? take, for example, russia under vladimir putin. it is the unanimous view of all 17 u.s. intelligence agencies that russia conducted an organized and intentional campaign of interference in our
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2016 presidential election. that russia conducted a cyber attack authorized at the highest level with an intention to influence the outcome of our election. i cannot imagine a more direct frontal assault on who we are as a nation than to seek to influence our democratic election, but on top of that unprecedented attack on who we are as a nation, vladimir putin's russia illegally annexed the crimeaian pa minutes la and continues to support the regime in syria. today russia is preparing, even threatening to intervene in upcoming elections across europe, central and western europe, including elections in our long-time close allies france and germany. it's been massing troops like boston tone ya and baltic and conducting snap exercises all up
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and down the border with nato. it is precisely because of these acts of aggression that the nato alliance is more relevant and more important than ever. these aren't groundbreaking or controversial conclusions i'm reaching today. yet president trump's rhetoric as a candidate and his early actions as president, his compments to vladimir putin and his claims that nato is obsolete and his int nation that he may not honor our article 5 mutual defense commitment to our nato allies all call into question the president's understanding of the role that our alliances play. it also calls into question whether his administration understands the consequences of weakening or abandoning these alliances. more perhaps than any nation on earth the united states has deeply benefited from the stable world order that we helped shape
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following the second world war. after americans went throughout the world to fight the forces of fascism and imperialism in the pacific and the european theater in the second world war, we sat as the most powerful country on earth with weapons possessed by no other with the greatest manufacturing and military might on the planet and we set about establishing and inclusive rules-based democratically oriented world order from which we have benefited more than any other nation, and nato has become a key part of the alliances that we've relied on for that peace and stability in the seven decades since. let's not forget that the only time nato invoked its mutual defense provision, its article 5 claclause was when our allies ce to our defense after 9/11. so to suggest that nato is
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obsolete or outdated because it wasn't developed in a time when terrorism was a central threat gives a lie to the reality that our nato allies have stood shoulder to shoulder with us, fought alongside american service men and women in iraq and afghanistan. nearly a thousand have given their lives, and our nato allies have poured their blood and treasure into our defense and into our joint conduct against our enemies in afghanistan and iraq. interpreters from iraq and afghanistan have kept our troops safe and yet today those espousing america first would break our promises to these vital partners, and i have to ask to what end. mr. president, when we turn our backs on our allies and friends, there are consequences. they may be prompted to seek to help themselves in new or unexpected or dangerous ways, such as developing their own nuclear capability or seeking
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armaments from russia rather than from working in partnership with us for their own security. they may seek to find new allies who do not in fact share our values. and in all these cases, america first may gradually, tragically become instead america alone. that leaves us less safe and closes off economic opportunities around the world. so in seeking out a strategy that is proported to make us safer and stronger, president trump may in fact accomplish neither. a policy of america first doesn't just mean turning our backs on our allies and partners. it may also mean turning our backs on some of the world's most vulnerable people with real consequences here at home. the executive order signed by president trump just on friday banning all refugees from the united states for 120 days, banning refugees for 90 days from seven countries and indefinitely from syria caused
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chaos and confusion at our airports and instilled concern, even fear in american families across our country. and i have a key question today introduced earlier by senator cardin, the ranking democrat on the foreign relations committee but not yet answered, which is where does rex tillerson stand on this executive order? how does he see it in our place in the world? how does he understand the centrality of the example that we show to the world in how we embrace human rights? sadly, i think this executive order has validated the claims of jihadist groups like isis that recruit young men on the false claim that the west is at war with islam, which is why these very terrorist groups are today cheering this executive order. i think it has actively made us less safe by alienating muslims in the united states and around the world. why would we want to alienate the very iraqis with whom we are
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training, serving, and fighting in the war against isis when they are a critical part of the ground forces whom we are counting on to liberate mosul from the tyranny of isis? most significantly, this executive order may violate our constitution and values by banning people based not on security concerns but on the basis of their religion and by turning our backs on a decades long commitment to welcome those fleeing incredible fears of persecution, fleeing violence and chaos in their own countries, these may be the consequences of america first. mr. president, it's well known but it bears repeating that in 1939, a ship called the st. louis approached american shores bearing nearly a thousand mostly jewish refugees fleeing the horrors of the nazi regime and impending holocaust. in one of our nation's most shameful chapter, the united
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states turned away these refugees seeking our shores. one passenger on board the st. louis received a tell frame from the u.s. government -- telegram instructing him that passengers must -- quote -- "await their turn on the waiting list to qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible." most of these refugees were forced to return to europe where they were murdered by the nazis. this tragic episode from 1939 born of isolationism and tragically antisemitism and a mistaken sense that we could isolate ourselves from the challenges and the violence of the world was also part of a period when a group whose name was the america first committee mobilized to try and prevent our entry into the second world war. i will say that these are the consequences of america first. the united states ultimately is less safe. our allies may be made to feel
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uncertain or even betrayed. americans will find themselves more fearful and our values with which we have sought to lead the world are cast aside. mr. president, that's why i believe this debate today is about far more than a single nominee for an important post in our state department. american leadership on the world stage is not as simple as america first. and the consequences of truly embracing the dis tomorrowian vision of america first i think will be tragic. if mr. tillerson is confirmed, it is my sincere and ernest hope that he will challenge president trump to rethink the dark view of the world that he laid out in his inaugural address and that he will instead bend his skills and character and qualities to the hard work of realigning our role in the world to the course
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that republicans and democrats together have steered from this floor and from this body for seven decades. as the world saw last weekend, the new trump administration desperately needs someone in the room to speak truth to power and to temper its worst impulses. with that, mr. president, thank you and yield the floor. a senator: will the senator from delaware yield? a senator: i will. mr. markey: i thank the senator. the presiding officer: the distinguished senator from massachusetts. mr. markey: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, the senate's advise and consent role is one of our most important duties as senators. and the secretary of state is one of the most important nominations which we will
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consider. the secretary of state is america's chief diplomat and he should project america's values to the world. yesterday i joined with senator schumer in calling for a delay on mr. killerson's vote on the senate -- on mr. tillerson's vote on the senate floor till we here about president trump's muslim ban. turning away refugees based on their nationality and religion is unamerican, it is illegal, and it is immoral. and this muslim ban is propaganda for isis. it is a recruiting gift to terrorist groups around the world and in our own country. it will increase the risk of harm to americ -- to americans everywhere including here at home. donald trump is sending a message to muslims around the world that they are all suspects. this has a profound implication
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for our ability to work with governments in the middle east in the fight against terrorism. one of the countries named in this executive order is iraq, our closest ally in the fight against isis. conflicts and war is forcing millions around the world from their homeland. donald trump's muslim ban directly undermines our historic commitment to international cooperation and international refugee aid. that is why world leaders have joined the chorus of millions of americans who do not support the muslim ban. america has always been a beacon to those fleeing persecution and violence. we are a refuge to those seeking a better life. the poetic encryption at the base of the statue of liberty does not say send back your tired, your poor, your huddled massed yearning to breathe free.
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as our top diplomat, mr. tillerson will be in a position to work directly with the nation's named in this executive order, and we need to hear how he believes it will impact our standing around the world. with respect to mr. tillerson's nomination, i have very serious concerns. rex tillerson could have enjoyed his retirement after spending more than 40 years at exxonmobil. instead he answered the call to enter public service. and i commend him for that. his record at exxonmobil is one which clearly has received accolades. he did a good job for exxonmobil. he is highly respected in the oil industry. but public service requires the public's trust, and mr. tillerson will not have that
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trust unless he agrees to recuse himself from participating in decisions that would affect exxonmobil for the entire -- for the entirety of his term. so far he has refused to do so. our laws require federal officials to recuse themselves when a reasonable person could question their impartiality. before president trump nominated him to be secretary of state, mr. tillerson worked for one company, exxonmobil for virtually his entire adult life. and as he rose to become a senior manager and then c.e.o., mr. tillerson was personally involved in getting lucrative oil deals in a number of countries, including russia. in fact, during mr. tillerson's time as c.e.o. of exxonmobil, the company expanded its drilling rights in russia to 63
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million acres. now, that is an area the size of wyoming and nearly five times the size of exxon's holdings in the united states. but mr. tillerson didn't just deepen the relationship between his company and russia. he also tried to protect that relationship by speaking out against sanctions on russia. as a reward for personally cementing exxon's relationship with russia, president vladimir putin awarded mr. tillerson the russian order of friendship. the stakes with u.s.-russia relations could not be higher. russia has invaded the ukraine, annexed crimea, bombed innocent civilians in aleppo and attacked our elections with cyber weapons. our next secretary of state will be negotiating with russia on some of the most critical
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foreign policy issues facing the world. of mr. tillerson's decades-long history at exxonmobil and exxon's vast holdings in russia clearly create a conflict of interest. how can the american people be sure that mr. tillerson will be objective when he participates in matters relating to sanctions on russia? or in any matters that could affect exxon and the dozens of other countries around the world where exxon operates. as the top ethics lawyers for presidents bush and obama have said, these conflicts could require mr. tillerson to recuse himself from any matters affecting exxonmobil, irrespective of his financial divestitures. when i asked mr. tillerson during his confirmation hearing whether he would commit to recuse himself without waiver or exception from matters affecting exxon for the duration of his
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tenure as secretary of state, mr. tillerson refused. that is unacceptable. the american people and the national security of the united states demand a secretary of state whose impartiality is unambiguous. make no mistake. the stockholders of exxonmobil would have serious questions about hiring the leader of the sierra club to be the new c.e.o. of exxon. we, too, should have questions about hiring exxonmobil's former c.e.o. to be america's chief diplomat. if he agreed to recuse himself, mr. tillerson would be following a tradition that is long-standing and bipartisan. secretary of state james baker recused himself from participating in any matter that could affect the price of oil and gas. treasury secretary hank paulson promised not to participate in any matter where goldman sachs was a party.
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and all of president obama's appointees recused themselves from any matters related to their former employers or clients. mr. tillerson's refusal to follow their example will call into question his impartiality, and it could undermine his effectiveness as secretary. during his confirmation hearing, mr. tillerson displayed an alarming lack of understanding of oil's role in geopolitics, clearly a consequence of having worked solely at exxon. that disqualifies him from being secretary of state. when i questioned him, mr. tillerson told me that he never had supported united states energy independence. he told me that he didn't agree that reducing america's demand for oil and our reliance on foreign oil imported from the middle east would strengthen our negotiating position with oil-producing nations.
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we as a nation still import five million barrels of oil every single day into the united states. three million of those barrels a day come from opec members like saudi arabia and iraq and nigeria, and exxonmobil has energy interests in each one of those countries. and we're still exporting our own young men and women in uniform overseas to defend those energy interests every single day. mr. tillerson is looking at the world through oil-coated glasses. he may have gotten rid of exxon's stock, but he hasn't gotten rid of exxon's mindset. and mr. tillerson's answers to questions about climate change, the global generational challenge of our time, are a
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cause for extreme concern. although we recognize climate change is real and human activities influenced it, he would not commit to continuing action on it as a foreign policy priority. throughout his hearing, mr. tillerson would only say that he wanted to keep a seat at the table of climate negotiations. the united states needs to have more than a seat at the table. we need to be at the head of the table. in december, 2015, 150 heads of state gathered in support of finalizing the paris climate a -- accord. it represents a global solution to the problem of global warming in which all countries commit to doing their fair share. but instead of strengthening this historic accord, mr. tillerson indicated that all treaties and agreements to which the united states is a party
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would be up for review by president trump. america needs a secretary of state who will lead the world to fully realize the clean energy revolution, that will help us avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change while creating millions of american jobs. to abandon the paris climate accord would be to abandon our clean energy future. we cannot roll back years of progress, cutting dangerous carbon emissions or destroying clean -- and deploying clean energy solutions. for 41 years, rex tillerson's world view has been to advance the interests of one place and one place only -- exxonmobil. confirming mr. tillerson as secretary of state would be turning over the keys of u.s. foreign policy to big oil. big oil's interests are not america's interests. if mr. tillerson were to negotiate with russia and
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president putin, whose interests will he represent? those of big oil or those of the american people? i still do not have satisfactory answers to that critical question. for those reasons, mr. president, i cannot vote for his confirmation, and i thank you for allowing me to speak at this time on the senate floor, and i yield to the senator from connecticut, senator murphy. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. thank you, senator markey. since assuming office on januar1 days ago. i don't know, it kind of feels to me like it was 11 months ago. this is going in a sort of horrible, nightmarish slow
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motion -- the trump administration has assumed responsibility for our nation's national security. a lot of jobs the president has, this new administration has, but that's at the top of the list, guaranteeing this country's security and frankly being the guarantor of global security, and leaving aside some of the broader systemic challenges that we face in the world, let's just look at what's happened since the inauguration. yesterday, iran reportedly conducted another ballistic missile test. now, president trump criticized president obama on iran, being too soft. now it's his turn to get china and russia to agree to a security council resolution condemning this test and taking punitive action. on sunday, extremist groups all around the world celebrated the trump administration's ban on travel from seven muslim-majority countries, comments that were posted to pro-islamic state social media accounts predicted that the
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executive order would serve as a recruiting tool for isis. one posting said that trump's actions clearly revealed the truth and harsh reality behind the american government's hatred toward muslims. another posting hailed trump as the best caller to islam. and another one talked about the ban being a blessed ban, which is a reference to what militant leaders called the invasion of iraq, which was hailed then as the blessed invasion, becoming the cause celebre as the intelligence community called it for the global jihadist movement. immediately following the first phone conversation between trump and putin, the conflict in ukraine flared up. likely not coincidentally, eight ukrainian soldiers were killed and 26 were wounded just since saturday. and in the balkans, where russia has been just recently again steadily increasing its influence and presence, as europe is pulling up the doors on its new prospective members,
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serbia sent a train emblazoned with the motto kosovo is serbia up to the border of kosovo. it turned around, but as a result, troops and security forces were reportedly scrambled to the border from both sides. now, i'm not suggesting that all of these bad things happened because donald trump was inaugurated. i think -- i listened to my colleagues explain all of the world's troubles for eight years through the lens of responsibility to the obama administration, but this is all an advertisement for a very simple idea, that this is probably the absolute worst time to have the first american president with no government experience and no diplomatic experience pick the first secretary of state with no government experience and no diplomatic experience. this is not the moment for
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on-the-job learning. and yet, that's what we have so far. granted, mr. tillerson is not in place, but president trump's foreign policy up to this point has been tragically amateurish. witness the invitation for the mexican leader to come to the white house, worked out in painstaking detail and opportunity to show despite the furor and rhetoric of the campaign, solidarity between the american and mexican people, and then donald trump sends out a tweet daring the mexican leader to cancel the meeting, which he promptly does, erupting threats of a trade war. witness friday's muslim ban which now has muslim nations all around the world rethinking their relationship with the united states, sending this dangerous message to people all around the world that you have no home in the united states if you practice one particular faith. and so it begs the question as
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to whether mr. tillerson is going to be able to right this ship, having no experience working on almost every single one of these issues that confronts us around the world. it is not the same thing to run a global business and run the state department. and, frankly, i would argue that mr. tillerson's experience, even if you believe that he did a good job for exxon, it doesn't advertise him as a good candidate to run the secretary of state. in fact, we have reason to fear that mr. tillerson would run the state department like he ran exxon, where he repeatedly worked against u.s. national interests. mr. tillerson opposed sanctions levied against russia in the wake of their invasion against ukraine. he tried to pull one over on the committee, telling the committee this ridiculous story of first not lobbying congress on
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sanctions, then not knowing if exxon was lobbying for or against sanctions. that just doesn't pass the smell test. he called the chairman of the foreign relations committee to express his misgivings about sanctions. he personally lobbied congress against the sanctions. his company spent millions of dollars lobbying against the sanctions. and when asked by president obama and his administration to work -- refrain from attending a major economic development conference hosted by vladimir putin in the middle of the ukraine crisis, tillerson thumbed his nose at america. he intentionally embarrassed his own country and our allies by sending his top deputy to that conference, and it gets worse, and standing next to russian officials to announce major new contracts with russia. think about that. we begged exxon to stay away from that conference. not only did they go, but
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tillerson had his number-two guy announce new contracts in the middle of the sanctions. in the middle of the worst of the crisis with ukraine. and so it's not surprising that he was awarded the order of friendship by vladimir putin three years ago. and just an aside, i've listened to my colleagues castigate president obama for being weak on russia for years. and, frankly, the only thing that has been consistent about candidate trump and president trump's foreign policy has been a marshmallow-like softness on russia. at every turn, trump has previewed for you that he is going to be easy on vladimir putin. and tillerson's testimony cemented that. he was asked over and over whether he would commit to holding the line on existing sanctions, whether he would commit to imposing new sanctions based on russian interference in the u.s. elections. he was asked by the presiding
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officer if he would at the very least commit to holding in place the sanctions on the individuals who were named as those interfering in the u.s. election. he wouldn't commit to any of it. and so it is hard for me to understand how all of the republicans who have been eviscerating president obama for eight years for being soft on russia are now supporting the nomination of rex tillerson, who has basically advertised that they are going to withdraw the line that the obama administration has taken and enter into a new relationship with russia in which they likely get everything that they want. i hope that's not true, but we've asked over and over again for this nominee to give us some signal this they are going to at least maintain the policies that we have today and we've gotten no satisfactory answer. and, lastly, mr. president, maybe most concerning about this
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nominee is the potential for hum to carry with -- for him to carry with him from exxon a total lack of concern for ethi ethics. now, i understand business ethics, that sounds really harsh, right? i understand there is a difference between business ethics and government ethics and human rights is not something you're going to care about in a business to the extent that we care about it, as those who run and advocate for american foreign policy. but i asked mr. tillerson if there was any country in the world that he wasn't willing to do business with, as the leader of exxon. and he danced around the answer a little bit, but the pretty simple response was, no. and that's -- that's plain as day. we can look at the countries that they did business with, including syria, through subsidiaries, including iran. there was no human rights record that was bad enough for exxon to say, hey, no, you know, this isn't something we want to touch.
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and we had been told by those who were supporting his nomination that we really shouldn't pay attention to everything he did at exxon because he's going to be a new man when he comes to state. and i guess you can understand that. plenty of people take on new priorities when they come into new jobs, plenty of people argue for something they argued against once they have a new boss. but he had a chance before the foreign relations committee to tell us how serious he was about human rights. he got asked over and over again what he thought about human rights violations and some of the worst offenders around the world. and his answers to those questions were, you know, boy, they were disturbing and troubling. he wouldn't name saudi arabia as a human rights violator. saudi arabia is locking up political dissidents left and right. they don't allow women to drive. i understand they are an ally but they are also a human rights violator. everybody knows that. wouldn't admit that the president in the philippines who
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has bragged about murdering thousands of civilians without due process, wonk name his -- wouldn't name him as a human rights violator. what wouldn't say what russia has done in aleppo is a war crime. i understand you maybe don't know all the facts when you come into the process, but all you have do is pick up a newspaper to understand what's going on in manila or aleppo. it doesn't take a lot of research to know that russia is violating human rights in alep aleppo. he's working for a president who is never going to tell him to care about human rights, a pros who has -- a president who has openly talked about his affection for for fewer, how he thinks that strong leaders are the ones that kill journalists who oppose them. so it looks like we're going a preview of america's historic
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role in promoting and pushing human rights around the world. we have a president who is openly -- who has openly mocked human rights, who has supported vicious dictators and a secretary of state who has made a career of doing business with some of the worst human rights violators in the world and who couldn't name human rights violators when he appeared before the committee. senator markey is right. mr. tillerson is an accomplished businessman. he is smart. he is savvy. and i don't say any of this to impugn his characteristic. he had a job to do at exxon. he did it well on behalf of those shareholders. and, you know, frankly, he didn't have to take this job. he didn't have to subject himself to the spotlight and to the constant second-guessing that waites him as the next -- awaits him as the next american secretary of state. so i give him credit for making this decision to step up to the
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plate and do this job. and i think his motives are pure. i guess i can't assume anything else. i know there are people that question those motives, but i'm going to assume that he's doing this because he wants to help his country. and i look forward to working with him. he needs to be an advocate for the state department. he needs to be an advocate for the nonmilitary tools that have not historically been available to the president. we've had a military-first mentality as a country. we think every problem of the world can be solved through military intervention. even under president obama there was a bent towards military solutions. and as secretary of state, he can be the chief spokesman here for the ways in which he solve problems that don't involve attacking and invading. but i don't think somebody that has done one thing with one set of priorities and values for 40 years just suddenly does an
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about-face. if that were the case, he could have previewed that for us in the committee hearing. and yet over and over again when we asked for evidence that his priorities and values were changed, his answers didn't measure up. and as i said, in addition to those concerns, this is just not the time for a secretary of state with no diplomatic experience whatsoever. it is not a time for our new secretary of state to learn on the job. so, mr. president, i will oppose his nomination, and i hope others will join me. i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i yield 15 minutes under my control to the senator from massachusetts, senator warren. the presiding officer: the senator has that right. ms. warren: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak about the nomination of rex tillerson to serve as secretary of state. ms. baldwin: shortly after president trump's election, i wrote to him about what i thought was a mutual interest: taking on a rigged system in washington where powerful interests call the shots. for too long i have heard from wisconsinites who feel that washington's economic and political system is broken. people are angry because they feel that our government institutions seem to work for big banks or big oil but not for them. mr. trump clearly tapped into this widely held dissatisfaction when he announced his plan to
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reduce the influence of special interests in government by draining the swamp. yet with appointment after appointment, it has been made clear that president trump is not interested in ridding the government of powerful interests. in fact, he continues to appoint and nominate foxes to guard the henhouse. we don't need to look back very far to know what can happen when we let industry insiders run our government. the 2008 financial crisis was a result of years of deregulation pushed by wall street from both inside and outside the government. last congress i introduced
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legislation, a reform to slow the revolving door and ensure that our public servants are working for the public interest. not their former or future, for that matter, employers. i was inspired to introduce this legislation when i saw several obama administration appointees receive multimillion-dollar bonuses for leaving their private-sector jobs to join the government. these government service golden parachutes, as they are known, demonstrate how valuable some companies believe it is to have friends in high places. rex tillerson, the president's nominee to serve as secretary of
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state, received a $180 million payout from exxonmobil that he would have to forfeit had he taken a job elsewhere. what's more, reports indicate that the deal he struck allows him to defer paying $71 million in taxes. it's hard to imagine that our nation's top diplomat will forget such an incredible favor. but rex tillerson isn't the only trump appointee who will be rewarded with a golden parachute as he enters government. gary kohn, the president's pick to run the national economic council, will receive over $100 million from his former employer
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goldmagoldman sachs. before he starts to coordinate administration-wide economic policy. i remain as opposed to this practice under the trump administration as i was during the obama administration. wisconsin families cannot afford to have corporate insiders running our government to rig the rules on behalf of their former corporations. and that's why i'm introducing -- reintroducing the financial services conflict of interest act, to ensure that our government is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people of the united states; to ensure that president trump's cabinet officials are working in
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the national interests instead of their own interests. to ensure that they are working for their current employers -- the american people -- instead of their former bosses. in the case of mr. tillerson, whose nomination the senate is voting on this week, these questions of influence, of favoritism and priorities, are particularly troubling, troubling because during his tenure leading exxon, mr. tillerson showed disregard, if not outright contempt at times, for putting u.s. policy first. whether in the middle east, africa, or russia, exxon's bottom line was his overriding priority. now with $180 million of exxon's
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money in his pocket and after 40 years with the company, should we take it on faith that his priorities will suddenly change? should we blindly accept that the $180 million won't ever influence his decision making? or should we continue to ask questions, questions that rex tillerson has yet to answer? for example, how will exxon and big business influence u.s. policy in strategically important but democratically fragile oil-producing african states? how about u.s. international commitments to combating climate change, one of our greatest national security challenges but also a challenge that big oil has dismissed as a hoax?
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or perhaps most concerning, what influence will exxon have in matters relating to russia, where its long record of doing business at the expense of u.s. national security interests seems to be right at home in the trump administration? we also need to hear what rex tillerson thinks about president trump's actions this weekend. on friday, president trump issued anti-refugee and anti-immigrant executive orders. i am outraged by the way these orders were hastily thrown together late friday. the president's sloppy actions created chaos, disorder, and confusion at our airports and left families, including
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permanent legal residents, wondering what it meant for them. there have been media reports that relevant agencies, including the state department, were not consulted before this order was signed by president trump. president trump says we need extreme vetting of refugees fleeing war-torn nations. refugees, the vast majority of whom are women and children, already go through an extremely strict screening process before they are allowed to enter the country. what we really need extreme vetting of is president trump's executive orders before he signs them.

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