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Trump Administration
  Secretary of State Confirmation Hearing Part 2  CSPAN  January 11, 2017 11:46am-1:36pm EST

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and we will bring the hearing back to order.
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mr. tillerson, based on my previous conversation before moving to senator kaine, i know that we have had a little bit of a conversation about this, but when itle comes to lobbying for sanctions, it is my understanding that there is not a lobbying that took place against sanctions, but it is more to go through the details of what those sanctions would do to make sure that they are applied a appropriately across the board, is that correct? >> senator, that is correct. i never lobbied against the sanctions to my knowledge, and exxonmobil never lobbied against the sanctionsanctions, and exxo participated in how the sanctions would be constructed and how it might impact american interested business. the only engagement i had came after the sanctions were in
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place. exxonmobil was in the middle of drilling a well in the remote part of the russian arctic in the sea, and several hundred thousand miles away from any safe harbor, and when the sanctions went into place, the way they were written, they took immediate effect, and no grace period or grand fathering perio, and i engaged immediately with the state department and with treasury and ofac to explain to them that there was significant risk to people and the environment if, and we were going to comply with the sanctions, and fully comply, but that compliance meant immediate e evacuation of all of the people which was going the put lives at risk and the environment at risk, because it was a wild cat exploration well at a delicate position at the time, and provided a lot of technical information to ofac and the state department. thankful that it took about five
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days for them to understand that, and exxonmobil stood still while they were evaluating that, and in the end, did grant a temporary license to allow that work to be completed safely, so that we get all the equipment that was subject to sanctions out of the country including the rig out of the country. that was my direct engagement was really dealing with an effect of the sanctions, so again the characterization that exxonmobil lobbied against the sanctions is just not accurate. >> senator kaine. >> thank you for your willingness to serve. congratulate how much information do you have about financial connections between president-elect trump, trump family, or organizations or russian organizations. >> i have no noknowledge. >> and if i asked you the same
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question and inserted turkey or other nations would your answer be the same? >> i have no idea. >> so i guess you have no idea how that would affect his --. proposed by a president trump if we elect basic actions may benefit his personal finances. >> that's a question others will have to address. >> you are agree dealing with companies in your capacity as ceo of exxonmobil have used it to increase their wealth. >> it have no direct knowledge f that. >> but you have read they have a mass great personal wealth while in office, correct? >> i'm aware of the press
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reports. >> do you think that such behavior by head of government is in accord of values of the united states or contrary to u.s. values? >> if the reports are true, and there has been inappropriate taking of funds that belong to the government and is not provided for under the government's laws, then that would be contrary to our values which are to respect the laws. >> -- do not use their public positions to amass personal wealth while in office? >> that's the standard in the united states,iest. >> without full disclosure of the president and all financial interests isn't there a chance you might be across the table in a negotiation setting say with russian officials who know more about the president's financial interest and exposure than you
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do? >> not to my knowledge. >> wouldn't that put someone at a disadvantage? >> if it's not to my knowledge it's not going to change the way i'm negotiating with them. >> but if someone on the other side of the table has more knowledge than you do is that not something that could put you at a disadvantage. >> what are we trying to achieve, that's all that matters, if you achieve the obltiobl abo objective. >> we talked about this in my office. there's been great deal of coverage and exxonmobil history with the issue of climate change, a recent two-part article prepared by members of the rockefeller family foundation and investigated by a independent team by the school of journalism. there was a three-part series in the los angeles times and inside
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climate news produced a nine-part series that was a finalist for the pultser prize. one exxonmobil concluded as early as the 1970s that pollution from co2 from burning fossil fuels was -- in destructive ways and took public possessions against the scientific position regarding science climate, three, funded outside that publicly on obscured, and continues to provide funding at a lower level to outside group that is deny, down play this scientific consensus, are these of
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promoting and funding climate status denial despite it's awareness true or false. >> senator, since i'm no longer with exxonmobil i'm in no position to speak on their behalf. >> i'm not asking you to speak on exxonmobil's behalf. you were with the company for 42 years. >> yes. >> i'm not asking you on behalf of exxonmobil. you have resigned from exxonmobil i'm asking you whether those allegations about exxonmobil and decision to fund and promote of you contrary to its awareness of its science whether the allegations are true or false. >> question would have to be put to exxonmobil. >> do you lack the knowledge to answer my knowledge or are you
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refusing to answer my question. >> a little of both. >> i have a hard time believing you lack the knowledge to answer my question, but that's an editorial comment just like your comment was an editorial comment with respect to refusing my question you talked in my office, you have served your financial ties with exxonmobil correct? >> that is correct. >> are you subject tony confidentiality agreement that continues to be enforced that would limit your ability to talk about the matter i'm asking you about or any other matters concerning exxonmobil. >> let me clarify my first answer, all my ties will be served if confirmed. i spoke too quickly. >> yeah, i understood that. >> to my knowledge i have no such confidentiality agreement in place but i would have to consult counsel. >> i'll file that question for the record and would be curious if there's any existing
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confidentiality agreement. i want to enter a couple of documents in the record. first a letter 1982, from the direct, theoretical director roger cohen. september 1982, a clear scientific consensus the climatic effect of co2 the consensus is doubling from its preindustrial would result in an average global temperature rise, there is unanimous agreement in the scientific community this would bring about significant changes in the earth's climate including rain fall distribution and in the atmosphere. it depends on future world conassumption of fossil fuels n.
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summary the results of our research are in accord of scientific consensus affect on co2 on climate. we are now ready to present our research through the usual mechanisms of conference presentations and public indicatio -- publications. there's to attract the news media to the increase of atmospheric co2. in the scientific literature indeed to do otherwise would be a breech of exxonmobil -- for t. >> i will read the following.
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geological evidence indicate environment for reasons having nothing do with human activity, against this backdrop of large poorly understood natural variability it is impossible for scientists to attribute the recent small surface increase to human causes and i would like to introduce that as well. >> without action. -- objection. >> mr. tillerson, i know you're familiar with the phrase resource curse, which countries often find their abundance actually impedes diverse economy, promotes environmental disfoliation, provety and corruption, that's not an iron law but has been a topic since the early 1990s.
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nations have suffered through this phenomenon, i would say like you to talk as secretary of state where we have a portfolio that helps nations try to raise sustainable -- how will you work with them to make sure they respect human rights the rule of law and transparency and anti-corruption. >> good question. succinct answer, please. >> there's lots of opportunities to strengthen capacities and set standards of expectation in the developing part of the world including those that have resource wealth. >> mr. chair, if i could put one more document from this committee directed by senator luker in 2008 entitled the petroleum paradox to fight the
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resource curse and has a number of suggestions about the both president and secretary of state and that i believe still has merit and would direct it to the chairman. >> thanks, mr. chairman and mr. tiller man, for your presence today. i would like to turn to discussion and dialogue and it's the sanctions imposed in the wake of their -- of crimea and you indicated you have a couple of concerns, aside from the fiduciary concerns and value of exxonmobil you had concerns with respect to the ill-formation of these sanctions, the fact that there was a disparity between the u.s. and eu's sanction regime and didn't believe that
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sanctions regime would work is that correct. >> i think i expressed the view it was likely to be ineffective. >> okay. i would -- i'm going to give you an opportunity to explain that in greater detail. in the wake of our private meeting we contacted the constitutional research service and they indicated, i'll submit this report for the record here but that in practice" it aappears that u.s. and e eu sectoral made the distinctions that you made clear would be ineffective. >> i was talking about the natural gas development. all the eu sanctions allowed a grandfathered that was allowed in the sanctioned areas to
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continue, in the u.s. sanctions there was no grandfathering, and in this dialogue that was going on during the development of the sanctions that was part of the input to the process both to the treasury secretary, i spoke to secretary himself to point out there was this gap and could lead to problems for u.s. interest from two perspectives, one was the operational effect i described a moment ago in response to the chairman's question that an immediate effect would put operations on goi ongoing at risk, the second was that activities in the european area could continue, because they put parts of the sector at a disadvantage because the u.s.
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could not continue to demonstrate its capabilities and put at risk agreements entered into might be terminated. >> so it's the grandfathering component. mr. chairman, submit this for the record. >> without objection. >> let me pose a hypothetical. gets to the heart of the matter trying to separate one's responsibilities, one's incentives as a ceo of a major multinational corporations, coming from a role of the chief diplomat of the united states. assuming something not lacking inplausability inplausability, assume russia was to send into the ukraine and presented to you as secretary of state, finally assume that would
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disadvantage the bottom line of american based multinationals, would you still propose, advocate that the united states of america advance its national interests by adopting this sanctions regime? >> senator, i think as i've indicated now several times, use of sanction is important and can be powerful tool as long as they're constructed to be effective. in an instance given i'm sure there will be discussions of all the options but the sanctions certainly will be an important operation on the table and if that's the option selected i will vigorously support those. >> very good. with respect to the u.s. and eu sanctions it's already been presented to you that there's a possibility of removing those, you indicated for now you believe the status quo should
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reign in part i'm synthetic to this you indicated you lack sufficient information, you haven't been read in with respect to classified material, correct? >> that's right. >> your nomination was announced on december 13th, you have never served in government. it's understandable you wouldn't have a security clearance until last evening, would you be willing to receive a classified security brief from our intelligence community this evening assuming we may go into tomorrow with respect to this hearing focused intenty ly on russia. >> if all the paper is in place and i haven't received notice yet if it's on file but i look forward to having access to the additional information. >> so you would be willing? >> yes. >> further as the nation's chief diplomat it's really important as we see from the previous
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administration that this chief diplomats speak with a voice that is perceived to be the voice of the president of the united states, there cannot be space between what you are saying, the policies you are putting forward and those embraced by our now president elect. he has a history of utilizing to very well-known effect social media, twitter in particular, and some of the president elect's tweets appear to be quickly drafted, not vetted by staff or coordinated with the transition teams senior officials, so this gives pause to me, some concern that in coming months, in coming years, you might not be empowered to sever as the chief diplomat, you lack credibility, so how do you
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finess this? how would you ensure that the legs are not cut out from underneath you as the nation's chief diplomat and perhaps you have ideas on this? >> if confirmed, and i am able to serve this president elect, i don't think i'm going to be telling the boss how he ought to communicate with the american people. that's going to be his choice, but in carrying out and executing and implementing the foreign policy including traveling abroad and i understand your point i'm overseas and it would be my expectation any way the president might choose to communicate through whatever communication would be on support that we agreed on. >> do you have any contingency plans to address? >> yes, i have his cell phone number. >> okay. >> he's promised me he'll answer.
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>> and he does. we'll hope for the best there unless you have anything else to had. ? your prepared statement you write russia must know they will be accountable to our commitments and those of our allies, in an armed attack against one or more members in north america shall be considered an attack against them all. if putin were to instigate a cri mia style invasion of let's say aston i astonia, do you believe it should join our fellow allies against external invasion. >> article 5 commitment is invaluable and the u.s. is going to stand behind that commitment. >> so yes? >> if that's the consistent feeling of the nato members of
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article 5, then yes. >> thank you, i yield back. >> senator murphy. >> thank you mr. tillerson for your willingness to serve and as a cub scout leader wearing the uniform last night as i led my wolf den, i thank you for your service to the boyscouts and your leadership there as well. a comment and a few questions. in your testimony you said that you had not lobbied congress on the issue of sanctions and i guess we flushed out that in your find calling the united states senator to express your belief that sanctions would be ineffective is not lobbying. i would argue that's a distinction without a difference. if you are calling a united states senator on the phone to express your belief that sanctions that would affect your company would be ineffective, that likely constitutes lobbying
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and 14 different lobbying reports exxon did list as part of its political activity. i have a question though on another potential inconsistency. in your testimony and in your private meetings with us you spent a lot of time talking about the importance of consistency and clarncy that we need to build that. in your response to senator rubio whether you would support mandatory sanctions against specific individuals involved in confirmed verifiable cyberattacks against the united states is fairly extraordinary. the u.s. is under attack today. we are under attack by russia, by north korea, by china, through the cyberattacks, and so
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i guess i'm going to ask you to square how you can have a clear consistent policy on preventing cyberattacks against the united states when you've said before this committee that you don't support mandatory sanctions against verified individuals who have committed attacks against the united states because there might be complicated multifaceted relationships with certain countries in which you might want to weigh the attack against the united states with another consideration. how do you deter cyberattacks against the united states if you send a assess manage that you can get away with it with no sanctions against those individuals as long as there are other equities at stake with the united states. put those two together for me. >> senator, what i was intending to convey is that i need to be fully informed as to what all
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the options are and i'm not fully informed. if confirmed it will involve interagency discussions and again this is a symptom in the absence of a clear policy and a clear strategy i fully appreciate this body and in particular this committee that has these important responsibilities wanting to take action. what i don't know because i've not been allowed or not had the sufficient briefings yet, what are the other potential ways to respond to these types of attacks? and if sanctions are the most effective, than that certainly is what i would support. but i do not know because i have not been briefed what are our capabilities to responding, are there other options to prove more effective and get more immediate change in behavior of
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whoever is attacking us. i hope i didn't convey or didn't intend to convey that kind of narrow of a response, i was trying to convey this is an extraordinarily complicated threat today and we are being attacked. i don't disdispute that statement in any way, but i also believe we have to look at all the options and tools to us and sanctions is one of them, it's a powerful tool and i think as i said if in an interagency, that conversation is existing and the conclusion is made these sanctions are going to be the best and most appropriate way to act, then i think the executive would like to have the option al optionalty to make that decision not the excludes there might be better options available and yet we have to do this as well. >> "the new york times," cnn and others are reporting russia has a dossier of very damaging and
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embarrassing information about the president elect that they have used to influence his views on russian-american policy. this report is as earth-shattering as it is thinly sourced but it was deemed credible enough for our intelligence agencies to read in both the president and the president elect. i think we all pray it isn't true and i certainly understand you're not in a position to testify to the contents of that report, but let me just ask you some very simple questions. have you been briefed yet on these allegations on this report? >> i have not. >> there's some confusion as to whether the president elect has been briefed can you confirm whether he has been briefed or not. >> i don't know. >> in this report there are allegation that there were specific agents of the trump campaign that communicated between it and russia. have you or exxon had any
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business dealings relationships with paul manafort or carter page? not that i'm aware of. >> can you take that question for the record and get a response to the committee? >> i would be happy to. >> do you believe that u.s. law enforcement most notably the fbi should seek to determine the accuracies of these allegations? >> i would leave to them. >> if they would choose to do an investigation would you cooperate? >> to the extent there's a roll for the state department to investigate. >> you talked lot about the importance of setting red lines and then standing by them when you set them. and i want to ask you some questions about it. the president made his red line
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statement in the context of a press conference and so i just want to get your position right here. you believe statements by american presidents even those made off the cuff are taken by world leaders as statements of u.s. policy, is that correct. >> in that statement i think it was pretty unequivocal. >> let me give you another unequivocal statement and ask your thoughts, on twitter president-elect trump said that a north koreaen icbm launch was "not going to happen" that sounds about as clear as a red line as i can figure one out. do you represent that to be a red line? >> i don't know that i would interpret that to be a red line. i could interpret that to mean a lot of things. >> explain. elaborate. >> it's not going to happen because the president views the
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north koreans around going do one, it could be interpreted that way. >> you don't think that should be interneted by the global community for north koreans not to obtain a an icbm? >> i think it's a pretty far reach to come to that conclusion. >> i think many has interpreted that way and there in lies the question it does become a little opaque as to what you mean, i don't think there's as much confusion there, but that will certainly be challenge that you will have. finally, i want to drill down a little bit more on the series of questions from senator menendez, he was getting at a question about conduct at exxonmobil that contradicted foreign policy in iraq when you made a deal with the kurdish government even when
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the united states government requested that you refrain from doing such a deal. in addition, there's testimony now that through subsidiaries or joint partnerships exxon did work in places like iran, syria and sudan. this question is going to sound confrontational but i mean it sincerely, was there any country in the world whose record of civil rights was so horrible or whose conduct so directly threatened global security or national security interests that exxon wouldn't do business with it? was there any line at exxon where you would not do business given that iran, syria and sudan was on the list of those that you would? >> the standard that is applied first, is it legal? does it violate any of the laws of the united states to conduct business in a particular country? then beyond that it goes to the question of the country itself.
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do they honor contract sanctity? do they have a rule of law? and if they do or not are there mitigating actions put in place to protect whatever business activity might be undertaken. >> but on the list is not a record of human rights abuses or national security interests? >> that could go to contract sanctity, rule of law which is always a judgment as well. >> thank you senator corker and for our outstanding opening remarks i think you cast the hearing exactly in the place it should be. mr. tillerson, thank you for the challenge and for a couple of hours and answering the questions in a great way and thank you to senator nunn, that goes along way here with sam served 24 years in the united
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states senate, charmed the armed services committee and did the nunn -- on a treaty and did a great job helping us to understand what russian capabilities were and how important it was for us to maintain a strong role so i appreciate you having sam he's a great testimony to you and as a individual. i'm going to try to ask specific questions. with regard to american leadership being renewed and reasserted we have to renew our leadership, you have said that. probably one of the most interesting places in the world right now where we are basically out of the picture is the middle east with regard to aleppo, turkey, russia and iran are sitting at the table as they divide up the assets and what's
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going to happen in the future. and we're siding outside. as diplomating for the united states what would you recommend we do and what leadership is expected? >> i think the first step we have to tak is reeageith our traditional allies and friends in the area and reaffirm that we are back with our leadership and back with a plan of how to affect where events in syria go from here, we can't do anything about where we are today. i think you described the situation accurately. russia, syria, turkey and iran are dictating the terms how things are going to play out in syria today absent our participation so i think it's a reengagement with our allies, sharing with them where we believe we now have to go in syria. we have to reengage with the
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president of turkey, a long standing nato ally, he got pretty nervous about the situation and turned to who next was available and turned to russia that is not a sustainable ally, you're sustainable alliance is with the united states of america, so the fist step is that reengagement and reinforce what had been long standing commitments to stability in this part of the world an that includes establishing a clear statement of how important israel is to us and the national security and the role they play in this region of the world for our benefit as well. after that then we will have a plan that will be developed in concert with the national security council as to how we accomplish two things, one we have to protect the innocent people on the ground, people are
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fleeing areas how do we secure their protection to no longer indiskrem nantly bombed and there can be a stablesation of out flow of people. the second is defeat isis. we have two competing administrations, the alba shar must go and defeating isis. carrying out both of those simultaneously is extremely difficult because they -- with one another. we create at least some level of security in syria, but before we in fact decide that needs to happen we have to answer the question what comes next? what is going to be the
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government structure in syria? and can we have any influence over that or not, so there are a number of steps in a long road in regaining stability in syria, defeating one of the greatest threats to us which is isis and determining what is the fate and future of the syrian people as a syrian nation? it's going to take many steps but isn't going to start until we get reengaged in that region. >> i'll make a statement and you don't have to concur or not, it's implicit we wouldn't be where we are, had we not forced the red line and we drew it with syria, we didn't renew and assert our leadership, and second we never changed our isil policy from destruction to, it made it impossible to get where we are today, would you have any comment on that? >> i would agree with both
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reflection. >> are you familiar with the dutch disease? >> i am. >> my son wrote his master thesis on the dutch disease, that's the only reason i know anything and it. but the thing about the state department, the dutch disease is where the middle east suffers from from an infinite resource of wealth in oil and petroleum, they bought their people off and had kingdoms and palace, now they're suffering today because they have no medicine, the millennium challenge corporations, those will will be under your responsibility is where we take our soft power to develop countries and france a at the same time, the peace core being an example.
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i am a huge supporter and have seen those soft dollars for those countries that don't have it. do you share that belief? >> i do, senator and as i think i commented earlier, usa i.d. has one set of criteria in which the aid is private. [audience disturbance] >> honor the earth! >> the use of aid is multifaceted in terms of disaster relief. one of the most effective is the millennial challenge, they have to take ownership of the impleme implementati
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implementation, and it is within their capacity to actually get something done, that's where you can hope we can put all these countries on a pathway to begin to take responsibility and develop the infrastructure and the educational systems and the need to meet the needs of their people. it is a different journey for each of these countries and the use of the foreign assistant to the extend we can make u.s. id development programs more like millennial challenge recognizing different criteria but goes to the responsibility recipient government in putting some level of criteria promoting their institutional capacity to begin to address look back to their people and address their needs. they are powerful tools and pour. because as i said earlier, they really project the best of american passion. >> a lot of people question whether or not we ought to have
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corporate executive be secretary of state. soft power, we prefer, hard power if ke cwe can use it. joint venture, your knowledge of that joint venture process is going to be invaluable with the state department as we go through africa and other developing countries to reduce corruption and with the un when we need them most. >> i think to build the connections with developing countries around the world and hopefully are going to be on the rise and can be important models to others to demonstrate that it is possible to lift yourself out of this condition. >> one quick last question and not a catch 22 but i'm a big supporter of trade. i think it's important, a weapon we have to use a soft power weapon to have friends and help the united states of america. china the whole issue of ttp has
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been an issue. i know the president was questionable on ttp but not on trade itself. do you think it has a role of the state department? >> having strong economic alliances where there's a certain i hate to use the word int interdependency because some people define that a threatening term, but it allows us to have the economic ties to maintain good economic relations with one another and also allow an opportunity to know people one another and these are people just going about doing their jobs and allows us to project those values we are trading with. we have a presence bringing american standards of conduct, ethical behavior, a structure around honoring our deals, a deal is a deal, we honor it. so economic trade is critical to
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the success of our foreign policy. >> thank you very much for your willingness to serve and thanks to your family an wife to help support you. >> thank you. >> senator marky. >> mr. tillerson, during your tenure as ceo of exxonmobil the company massively expanded in russia going from virtually no holdings to holding the drilling rights to 63 million acres. that's an area inside of russia that is the size of wyoming. and almost five times the amount of holdings exxon has here in the united states. as ceo of exxon, you vocally opposed the russian sanctions that have been put in place which hamper exxon's ability to drill there. now in recent weeks we have
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learned about the incredibly disturbing extent to which russia has sought to weaken our nation from its efforts to under mine the election to yesterday's news that it has compromising personal and financial information about the president elect. now i am sure that i am not alone in saying that i believe that these allegations if true demand more and stronger sanctions against russia. now just this morning donald trump said that he thinks the russians did hack our american election. so mr. tillerson, in light of what you now know about the extend of russia's hostile acts against our country, do you support increasing sanctions against russia even if doing so hurts exxonmobil?
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>> senator, if confirmed in consultation with the president and i'm sure what will be an interagency decision around imposing additional sanctions on russia, there will be no space between me and the president or the administration in those decisions. i serve if confirmed i serve only the interest of the american people. >> well, again, the question that the american people are going to have is that you have spent 41 years at exxonmobil and exxonmobil controls for leasing purposes drilling purposes oil purposes an area the size of wyoming inside of russia and you have spent your entire adult life working there. so, there's a question that people have in their minds about your ability to be able to separate. you know, if the head of the
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sierra club was named tomorrow to be the new ceo exxonmobil, some of the shareholders at exxonmobil might wonder whether the head of sierra club could put aside their whole past history in order to advance the shareholder interest, the people watching this hearing and the people of the united states are wondering the same thing with issue with regard to our past history and not just the vast interests which exxonmobil has in russia, but in dozens of other countries across the world. now earlier you said that you would recuse yourself from issues involving exxonmobil as required by statute. but that statute, that statutory recusal period is only for one year. you could be secretary of state for four years or for eight
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years. you, in my opinion, are going to have many, many issues after that one-year period is up that relates to the economic interest of exxonmobil. so i ask you, sir, if you would be willing to recuse yourself for the duration of your time as secretary of state from any manner dealing with exxonmobil's economic interests so that the american people are sure that the only interest that you are serving is the interest of the american people? >> senator, as i indicated earlier, i will honor obviously the statutory recusal period an then after that any matter that might involve exxonmobil or has the appearance that it could
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lead to some type of conflict, i will seek the guidance of the ethics council a review by them and if it is proper for me to recuse i'll honor that. >> well, again, one year is very brief period of time given the vast economic interest affects on mobile in nigeria, in iraq, in russia, in country after country around the world. i think, mr. tillerson, it would be far better for you just to say that for the duration of your time as secretary that you will not allow for your own personal involvement to be a part of any decision about anything that affects exxonmobil anywhere in the world. i think the american people would feel much more comfort if you would in fact make that commitment to them. now, during your tenure as ceo,
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exxon has supported public police groups who have spread climate denial. senator kaine dealt with that issue and also opposed clean energy including for example financial support in 2015 for the american legislative exchange council and the manhattan institute, two groups which are climate deniers, in 2016 when the attorney general of massachusetts asked for climate activities under massachusetts's consumer and financial protection laws, exxon sued the state of massachusetts, the attorney general of massachusetts. and other public policy groups that have been critical of exxon. so we have evidence in the past
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of exxon during the time you have been there supporting groups opposing climate action and also trying to silence groups that have been critical of exxon. so, give the american people, given your personal history at exxonmobil and the actions of that company, some reason to have confidence that the climate agreement negotiated by secretary kerry and president obama will be something that the trump administration state department will honor and that you u.s. leadership will continue around the planet. we are not just any country. we cannot be a lager, the world expects us to be a leader on climate change. please give us those assurances that you will guarantee the
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state department will be the leader as it has been in advancing climate agenda for our country. >> if elected i'm sure i will want and the president elect will want to do full policies around global accords and global agreements and i feel free to express my views around him and i also know part of his priority in campaigning was america first and so as we commit to such accords and as those accords are executed overtime are they at a disadvantage. >> do you believe it true to work about other countries to
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find a solution? >> i think it's important for america to remain engaged with the discussions so we are at the table expressing a view and understanding what the impacts may be on the american people and american competitiveness. >> do you commit to make sure no employee of the state department is influenced to take action because it would be favorable to business interests associated with the president elect or his family? >> if i understood the question, yes. >> all right. the president elect said famously in a tweet "wouldn't you rather have in a certain sense have japan with nuclear weapons when north korea has num lar weapons?" and he has also said he would be open to saudi arabia being open to having nuclear weapons, these
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have been described dangerously off base and suggested trump's suggestions would make american families less safe. do you disagree with the president elect that it wouldn't be a bad thing for us if japan and south korea and saudi arabia acquired nuclear weapons? >> succinctly if you will. >> i think the priorities to to be for north korea to deploy the nuclear weapons. >> senator paul. please. congratulations on your nomination, they president elect has said the iraq war was a big fat mistake. he said this many, many times, i was wondering whether you agree with the statement and if you do
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agree how will it form your future to have middle east or the conflicts that we are engaged at least. >> what i indicated that actions over the past decades while well-intended that in the end did not achieve the stability we saw or security and i think in that regard the decision to go into iraq and change the leadership in iraq upon reflection was perhaps not -- did not achieve those objectives, we do not have a more stable region in the world and our national security has not been enhanced or still under threat today. >> i think that's an important point that we talk about whether or not our national security was enhanced and i think gets lost
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in that these are terrible people, x, and we have to do something about it and in reality we forget what we are trying to do is protecting our vital national interests. another statement president-elect trump has made that u.s. should stop trying to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing and. this is kind of related to the last question, but there are some in the foreign policy community who say we must go in and topple the regime in eye rab, it will ra -- iran, but as you meet many of them and you ask them and iran and ask would it be a good idea to invade iran and they say much the opposite, that with the
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first bomb dropped you will erase a lot of goodwill when iran does change its regime on its own. nobody wants iran to have nuclear weapons and at the same time i think it's important to look at the lessons of the iraq war, it actually made iran stronger. same thing with libya, but the question is with regard to iran, those advocating it will be a cake walk we should have military regime change, what do you think of that advocacy and donald trump's statement with regard to regime change? >> i think you have described it in many ways the same way i would see it is that what is in the best interest of our national security? and i think this is where these priorities sometime come in
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conflict of our american values and our desire and out of our compassion for the miss treatment of people human rights, oppression of the regimes, we want those people to have what we have, but we have to balance the american interest and the american people first. and this is where i think we sometimes have too many priorities and lose sight of what is most important. any decision to aif effect a ch of leadership in a country by force cannot be taken lightly, and then what comes next? in the case of libya i think that was the failing in the decision to change the regime there, no one had a clear plan or view of what would come next. that's what we are experiencing and have experienced somewhat in iraq and it is the question in syria when people talk about changing the leadership there,
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what comes next? certainly, you know, making a decision to use force is a serious serious decision because we know it will come at a cost of precious american lives, so i think it is important and if confirmed secretary of state, my job is to make sure we never get there. my job is to chart out other pathways to have a steady progress towards causing regimes who o press their people to change their behavior and use all the other tools available to us. having said that, i do think we have to be clear about the threat iran poses today and make sure we have taken all steps appropriate through all mechanisms available to contain that threat and their ability to grow that threat in particular not just on the acquired nuclear weapon but more importantly
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their widespread support of terrorism around the world. we have to disrupt that. >> thank you. with regard to foreign aid there's been a lot of love for foreign aid going around today but i think there's another side we ought to think about. there are many, many many reports talking about corruption within foreign aid that we give it to developing countries and 70% of it stolen off the top. the mubarics, everybody loved them and yet they were said to be about worth $15 million, they skim off the top everything that comes in the country. i believe it was the ek toral guinea that stopped about ten different cars on an airplane that were 200,000, $300,000
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cars, some of the other things were toward third charities, but i would say less bad but can't say it's all great an going to a good cause. sometimes it works the opposite way, in an example in egypt some the mubarics, they have to buy some things it's this economic business game we do, but one of the things they bought from us was tear gas so when they had the big democratic protests, they would be tear gassed and i would say that power isn't giving a warm soft fuzzy feeling for america and people who are not pro human rights, that sometimes actually the foreign
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aid backfires on us because they are using forceful military yan means on their own people but i would appreciate your comments on whether or not you see any problems with foreign aid or things that need to be reformed? >> senator, i'm very aware of and even in my prior work i have seen the examples of what you described or even if disaster relief cases where foreign assistances is flown in. food supplies and while literally being unloaded at the airport military forces are picking them up and takeing the away to be sold, so the challenge is never in the intent and our compassion and the need we're trying to address, the challenge is always in the execution and i do think it is
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important that we have as well developed execution plans if we're going to deliver aid into a country where we know this is a risk, what can we do in the execution of the delivery of that aid if it's arelief, are there other agencies we can partner with to limit that type of theft going on? in terms of development assistance, to the extent we do not give grants directly to governments but whether we give them to particular projects or perhaps partnering agencies or public private sector initiatives, which are executed by a credible ngos, so that the money is just never passes through the hands, that's the preferred mechanisms, i think. >> and then one final point i would make and you don't necessarily need to comment on this is that it is not only corruption, but it is unintended consequences. as a business person, you'll immediately recognize this, i think even right and left actually agree on some of this, if you dump haiti with raice fo
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ten years, you ruin their ability to have a rice market. if you want to give them rice during the middle of a famine, that's one thing. you have to be careful about having a big heart, small brain syndrome that we ruin their local economy sometimes with aid as well. but i appreciate you thinking about corruption and then also thinking about unintended consequences of our aid. thank you. >> thank you. before turning to senator merkley, i want to -- i think you made great contributions as it relates to foreign aid and i think that there is support for the 1% that we spend to try to use it in appropriate ways for soft power. i think and i've shared this with the trump incoming transition group, we're still much of our aid is the cold war model, where we're buying influence, and so much of it needs to be all of it, actually, transformed into something that has appropriate efficacy. what we're doing now with food aid is beyond belief.
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and i could go on about this for another 25 minutes. it is beyond belief. efforts like we have to end modern slavery where partnerships are created, where you're building on best practices, some of the things we're doing with water, some of the things we're doing with electricity, i think they're set up on the right principles, but i appreciate the comments, i appreciate hopefully all of you looking at foreign aid, because there is much waste, there is corruption. we could deliver it in a much better way. senator merkley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is a pleasure to join the committee. mr. tillerson, during his campaign, the president-elect talked a lot about what he saw as major mistakes with nafta and giving china full access to our market in terms of impact on american manufacturing. he was very critical of the tpp. do you share his vision that nafta and wto china access and the tpp are big mistakes in terms of creating living wage
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american jobs? >> senator, my understanding of the issue that the president-elect has with those trade agreements is in the case of nafta, it is an agreement that has been in place for decades now. and i think even president pinieto of mexico says it needs a different look. we're in the era in the terms of types of trade and technology and the global trading environment has changed. >> do you share his opinion of the tpp? >> i do not oppose tpp. i share some of his views regarding whether the agreement that was negotiated serves all of america's interests best. >> thank you. exxon has a partnership with shell, a company known as infinium that did a fair number of transactions by iran, bypassing u.s. sanctions. are you familiar with this --
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the use of this subsidiary to bypass u.s. sanctions and do you think it was the right thing to do? >> i don't recall the incident. i read about it, but i don't recall it specifically. >> so the scc directly contacted exxon while you were in the senior leadership, saying this seems fairly material for investors, an effort to bypass u.s. sanctions and asked why exxon didn't disclose it. do you have any memory of that or discussions of whether exxon should have disclosed these transactions? >> senator, i think the question be best placed to exxonmobil where the information would reside. >> no, sir, you were there. i'm asking if you had discussions about this or have a memory of it? >> i do not. >> if you were secretary of state, and you were working to enforce u.s. sanctions and another ceo had a subsidiary set up and utilized to bypass american sanctions, would you call up that ceo or weigh in and say, this is not a good idea,
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this undermines u.s. efforts to take on a serious terrorist threat or other malfeasance by some country of the world? >> i think if the actions that are being taken violate the sanctions, then there are proper authorities that would examine that and deal with it. >> it is not an issue of the technicality of violating this -- the operation subsidiary was set up in europe specifically that exxon set up so it could legally bypass u.s. sanctions, but certainly inconsistent with the goal of u.s. policy to pressure iran and if you were the leader of the secretary -- you were secretary of state, would you try to make sure that u.s. leadership and the effectiveness using sanctions was not undermined through the setup of foreign subsidia subsidiarys? >> i would certainly be open to having the -- having folks in the state department contact companies and inquire whether they're aware of the actions that they're taking and the
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state department's view of that. >> to be aware of something is different than to be concerned or to be upset by it. would you consider -- would you up hold the integrity of the u.s. goal of diminishing the ability of nations like iran to do a whole host of things destructive to u.s. interests? >> i understand, senator. i also think it is important that the state department, as with any agency, also respects the laws that have been put in place. there is a difference between expressing a concern, suggesting someone is breaking the law. >> yes. yes. so as you look back on the subsidiary, it doesn't upset you that exxon took this role to undermine u.s. sanctions and you would not express concern if another company, legally, set up foreign subsidiary to undermine u.s. sanctions? >> as i said, i don't recall the circumstances. >> i'm not asking you to recall. i'm asking your answer is that you don't consider that a problem. it sounds like you're not
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considering that to be an issue. >> i don't know the example so i don't know how to answer the question. >> okay. that's all. thank you. let's turn to ukraine, you said earlier in this hearing, i never personally lobbied against sanctions. to my knowledge, exxon never lobbied against sanctions and yet there is a whole host of material in the public sector about exxon lobbying on the sanctions. there is a whole host of these lobbying reports in which exxon reports under the law that they lobbied on these bills, that imposed sanctions. there is your report at the 2014 meeting and i, quote, we do not support sanctions generally, and you continued, so we always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming. i'd like to enter these articles into the record, if i could. >> without objection. >> it is article entitled from the new york times rex tillerson's company exxon has billions at stakes over sanctions on russia.
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political article lays out exxonmobil helped defeat russia sanctions bill and notes how they lobbied against a bill that would make it harder for the next president to lift sanctions against russia. another article lays out tillerson visited the white house often over the russian sanctions. so there is a host of material showing a widespread pattern of weighing in against these sanctions that were harming exxon interests activities in russia, which was a major area of your effort. do you still maintain that exxon did not lobby against these sanctions? >> exxonmobil did not lobby against the sanctions, but were engaged in how the sanctions would be constructed. as to the reports of my visits to the white house, my visits were to work through the process of exxonmobil's compliance with the sanctions. i described earlier the situation where when the sanctions were enacted, there were growing activities that
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involved considerable risk that were under way for which exxonmobil sought a special license in order to complete those, in full compliance with the sanctions. had we been denied the license, we would have had to pull people out or exxonmobil would have had to pull people out at that time. >> is that the only instance in which you weighed in -- >> i'm sorry. >> 20 meetings going to the white house, that's the only issue you weighed in on exxon sanctions? >> i don't recall 20 meetings, but the visits to the white house, because under the terms of the compliance with the sanctions, first -- the first action was to seek the license to allow us to deal with eminent risk of the drilling situation. following that, ofac required us -- required exxonmobil to file reports on a periodic basis around our ongoing compliance activities. exxonmobil has holdings in
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russia, offshore salkland island, not subject to the sanctions. in partnership with rosnef which contains individuals which are subject to the sanctions. >> i'm going to take -- summarize that these reports you consider to be incorrect? >> they're inaccurate. >> thaufnk you. i'll continue. there are three individuals involved in the trump campaign, manafort, cohen, paige, who public reports have been involved in dialogue with russia, with the goal of finding common strategy with russia believing that trump would be better on syria and ukraine policy, and trump believing that russia could help defeat hillary clinton. now, these reports have not been substantiated. i'm sure much more will come on them, but in theory, how do you feel about a u.s. candidate turning to a foreign country to essentially find another partner in defeating another opponent in a u.s. presidential election?
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>> that would not comport with our democratic process. >> thank you. i'm sure we're going to have a lot of discussion of this because the extent of the false news stories, the hacking, the cyberwarfare, the use of botnets to amplify false news stories, hiring of trolls, all which attack the fundamentals of our democracy and the reports have it that russia not only wanted to weigh in in the election, but they also wanted to undermine u.s. confidence, citizens' confidence in our electoral process and in our democratic values. so that's a real concern to the future of our state. i assume it is a concern you might share as well. >> yes, sir. it is a concern i share. i also noted in the publicly available report that i read that the interagency report also acknowledged that these types of activities were carried out during the cold war as well. the tools of sophistication have only advanced with the advent of
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cyber. >> yes. many of these tools were internet-based electronic cyberwarfare that didn't -- was much different in that setting. when we come back in our next round, because a few seconds left, i'd like to ask a few questions about exxon's involvement in equatorial guinea. my colleague mentioned it on the other side. and i think that would be of interest. >> thank you. senator barrasso. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. congratulations on your nomination. i want to go to your opening statement and try to talk about a couple of things we haven't gotten into yet. one of the statements you made had to do with defeating isis. you said defeating isis must be our foremost priority in the middle east. you go on to say, but defeat will not occur on the battlefield alone, we must win the war of ideas. if i could just engage you a little bit to talk about how we can use diplomatic efforts and others, other ways to target and actually undermine the isis ideology and its legitimacy and how to do that and improve
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u.s.-led coordination. >> the defeat of isis globally is extremely challenging because it does not represent a country that we can apply traditional approaches to. the defeat of isis as an ideology, other than the battlefield, is going to require advanced capabilities in our own communication tools in terms of disrupting their communication to develop their network, more importantly to further their ideology. this means getting into the internet air space. and putting forth different ideas and disrupting their delivery of ideas to people who are persuaded to join them. isis, the defeat of isis in the middle east removes their caliphate territory. which then undermines their legitimacy. that in itself will not defeat isis once and for all. it will simply morph to its next
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version. and we see that already as terrorist organizations existing in other parts of the world have decided to i'd identidentify th with isis because of the strength of their brand, quite frankly. i think it will require a comprehensive interagency effort informed by intelligence and informed by the defense department, and other agencies as to how can we disrupt the delivery of this ideology. why the ideology takes hold in a particular location, again there is not a country that identifies itself as isis. that's why taking away the caliphate is so important. >> even looks like they're trying to extend into afghanistan. i was there at thanksgiving and near the afghan/pakistan border it seems like they're trying to establish a caliphate in that area as well. so the cancer has spread. i appreciate that -- those thoughts. in your opening statement, you just talked about, introduced, talked about the fact that the
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u.s. is not as strong and as respected as it had been previously and we need a foreign policy aimed at securing our national interests, demonstrating our leadership. from a standpoint of credibility, you and i talked about having the capacity to do something, having a commitment to use that capacity and communicating that commitment about the capacity. could you share with us a little bit about what you intend to do in terms of restoring america's position in the world? >> as i indicated, we are dealing from a position of strength. so the only reason we're not perceived to be there with our strengths, we're not asserting that strength in these issues, so it does begin with re-engaging with friends and allies, reconnecting with them that our commitment is to the stability of the region, that if there are existing commitments and agreements in place that we fully intend to fulfill those. and then, developing a strategy in the region to deal with the most imminent threat.
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it means projecting the strength of our u.s. military might, but hopefully not having to use it. in terms of trying to persuade countries to change their course of action. but in the case of the most immediate threat of isis -- it involves can we construct a renewed coalition that using the forces that are already there, including the syrian kurds, which have been our greatest allies, that we recommit to the syrian kurds that we intend to continue to support you with the capability to continue the advance on raqqah and then build coalition forces that can contain isis if it attempts to move into this other part of the country. and eliminate them from syria to begin. i think the effort in iraq is progressing. hopefully it will progress to a successful conclusion as well in terms of removing the caliphate from isis.
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>> staying in the middle east in terms of the relationship between israel and the palestinians, i always felt as has been the position of the country that direct negotiation between the parties without interference from outsiders was the key. the obama administration recently abandoned israel, the one sided resolution at the security council of the united nations by sustaining -- i'm sorry, abstaining from a vote, which in the past we would routinely had vetoed. can you talk about your views on the refusal to veto the recent u.n. security council resolution and the subsequent speech by senator -- by secretary kerry. >> well, israel is, has always been, remains our most important ally in the region. they're important to our national security. the u.n. resolution that was passed in my view is not helpful. i think it actually undermines setting a good set of conditions for talks to continue.
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the secretary's speech which followed that u.n. resolution i found quite troubling because of the attacks on israel and in many ways undermining the government of israel itself in terms of its own legitimacy and the talks. i think in the trump administration, president-elect already made it clear and if i'm confirmed i agree entirely and will support, we have to recommit -- this is in the statements i keep making about renewing and committing that we're going to meet our obligations to israel as our most important strategic partner in the region. >> the staying with the united nations, you talked about the international agreement specifically asked about the climate agreements, the international climate change, funding is a part of that. the obama administration is unilaterally pledged $3 billion to the u.n. green climate fund,
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the administration requested $1.3 billion for global climate change initiatives in this year's president's budget for fiscal year 2017. you mentioned donald trump campaigning on america first. will you commit to ensuring that no funding will go to the u.n. green climate fund? >> in consultation with the president, my expectation is we're going to look at all of these things from the bottom up in terms of funds we committed toward this effort. >> senator isakson asked about and talked about the value of using soft power, and just seems there are so many opportunities, whether it is humanitarian assistance, democracy promotion, embassy security measures that are necessary, and encountering global terrorist threats where money could be better spent than on these efforts. senator corker earlier talked about some of the wonderful things that have been done around the world because of u.s. involvement and soft power. part of that is power helping to
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power energy in a number of communities around the world, many of us have been to africa to see what happens in a community where there is energy available that hadn't been previously in terms of helping as a tool for those countries, so people can get better education opportunities, health, well-being. we had a situation where some of the programs in place have not really supported all of the above energy. and we have seen where the world bank has blocked funding for coal firepower plants which would help bring light and other opportunities to a number of countries in africa. i wonder if you could comment on the need to use all of the sources of energy to help people who are living in poverty and without power. >> well, i think, i know you touched on it, but nothing lifts people out of poverty quicker than electricity. just a fact. you get people light, you give them the ability to refrigerate food, medicine. it changes their entire quality
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of life. they no longer cook on animal deng and wood cooking in their homes. so health issues -- health improves. i think it is very important that we use wisely the american people's dollars as we support these programs. and that means whatever is the most efficient, effective way to deliver electricity to these areas that don't have it, that should be the choice. and that is the wisest use of american dollars. >> okay. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we're running slightly behind. we're going to go ahead and finish up with senator coons and senator portman. senator risch and senator booker are not here. we'll take a 45-minute recess when these two gentlemen finish their time. each of them will have ten minutes when they get back to start and then we'll resume depend in the same order starting with senator cardin and we'll do seven-minute rounds when we get back. looks like we'll recess about
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1:30 and come back at 2:15 and with that, senator coons. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. tillerson, good afternoon. to your whole family, welcome and thank you for your willingness to serve this country in this important post. i appreciate the frank conversation we had in my office last week and i just want the american people to hear some of the answers you gave me and i think some pressing and relevant questions around your nomination and your views on the world, but in a focused way and on the record. many of my colleagues already asked about how you will handle the transition from ceo of the world's leading energy company, oil company to secretary of state, advocating for human rights and open press and democracy. i've been encouraged to hear you say we will stand by our nato allies, that you would not support accepting the annexation of crimea by russia and that you see russia as currently an adversary and possibly an enemy.
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and i want to focus in on how you see putin's leadership and russia's role. you said previously that the russians are strategic thinkers, and they have a plan. they have a plan to restore their role in the world order. my core concern is that their plan is actually to change the world order. and that they have used a wide range of tools and we have not successfully pushed back on their campaign. i led a bipartisan delegation to eastern europe in august and was struck at the number of times and several countries where briefed on a continuous campaign to divide europe and the united states, to undermine our nato alliance and to divide europe from within. and russia used all the tools of state power, both overt and covert, to wage an aggressive propaganda campaign. back in the '90s. after the fall of the soviet union, we used effectively radio free europe and the national endowment for democracy, we were engaged in a full-on fight for
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democracy in the former warsaw pact countries and former soviet republics. i think we should be using all of our tools to push back on this russian aggression. do you see rt as a russian propaganda outlet and how would you use and lead the resources of the state department to counter russian propaganda and to push back on this effort to change the rules of the world order? >> well, as you point out, utilizing the opportunity to communicate to the people of russia, you know, through mechanisms that were successful in the past, radio free europe, and utilizing those type of sources as well as providing information on the internet to the extent people can access internet so that they -- they have availability to the facts. the facts as they exist, to the alternative reporting of events that are presented through the largely controlled media outlets
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inside of moscow. that is an important way in which to at least begin to inform the russian people as to what the realities are in the world. it is an important tool that should be utilized. >> it is the intelligence community's assessment that the kremlin has a long-standing plan to undermine the global democratic order that we spent so much time and effort building in the decade since the second world war. will you rely on and will you encourage the president-elect to rely on the career professionals in the intelligence community in your role as secretary of state if confirmed? >> senator, i have enormous respect for the intelligence agencies and the vital role they play. so i will certainly be informed by their findings and i think in terms of then understanding that as they applied to the facts on the ground, it is important in guiding our future policies and guiding our future options for
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how to respond. >> i know this press conference has happened while you've been here and this confirmation hearing, but just an hour or so ago, the president-elect finally publicly said that he thinks it is most likely true that russia was behind hacking effort, and he gave no more specific response to the question what should we do about it other than we will work something out. many of us are concerned about the lack of a clear embrace of a congressional role, and a clear embrace of congressional-led sanctions. there is a bipartisan bill that will move forward to enact sanctions so it is not just the action of one outgoing president. you've given some constructive answers previously about your view on sanctions and your view that if done in a solid and sustainable way they can be a constructive tool of foreign policy. please reassure me that you would welcome working closely with congress on enacting sanctions against russia in
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response to their war crimes in syria, their invasion of crimea and its occupation and their attack on our democracy. >> if confirmed, senator, i look forward to engaging with this entire committee, particularly on the construct of new sanctions and i think as i've indicated in response to other questions, what i would hope is that the executive branch and my role at the state department if confirmed would be the latitude to use those sanctions and efforts to cause modifications in russia's positions. if they're already in place, and mandatory, then that may remove some opportunities for us to explore ways in which we can use them as a tool, and give the russian government the option of moving because of the threat of those. >> i will say if i could, mr. tillerson, i was a member of this committee when the current secretary of state came and
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asked us not to strengthen sanctions against iran, to give the executive branch the freedom to operate. and i think by a vote of 99-0 the senate went ahead with bipartisan sanctions. senator menendez pressed you about this earlier. i do think that we should work in concert and in consultation, but there are some tools that congress sometimes chooses to move forward with. it is my hope we could strengthen sanctions to show our determination to contain putin's aggression and to push back on his adversarial actions. let me move to another topic, if i could. do you think it advances america's interest to have the russian military supporting assad, coordinating with iran, and engaging in combat actions in syria against the moderate opposition and against folks who we relied on as allies in the fight against isis? >> as i indicated in my opening remarks, that is contrairy to american interest. >> how do you think we can strengthen our hand against iran, given their destabilizing
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regional actions and in your view, as you reconsider the nuclear agreement with iran, if we withdraw from the agreement unilaterally, how will we sustain the current level of visibility we have into iran's nuclear program and how would that make us safer or stronger? >> with respect to the recent agreement to limit iran's ability to advance or make progress towards development of nuclear weapon, if confirmed, my recommendations and i think this is consistent with president-elect is now is to do a full review of that agreement as well as any number of side agreements that i understand are part of that agreement. examine what, you know, whether iran and our ability to verify whether iran is meeting its obligations under the agreement and ensure that we are enforcing all mechanisms available that hold them to that agreement.
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no one disagrees with the ultimate object they've iran cannot have a nuclear weapon. the current agreement does freeze their ability to progress, but it does not ultimately deny the ability to have a nuclear weapon. my understanding is the current agreement does not deny them the ability to purchase a nuclear weapon. just means -- just denies them the ability to develop one. so i think there are additional areas that have to be considered and most importantly if we choose to use this agreement, as a way to provide an opportunity to discuss what comes next, because the real important question is what comes at the end of in agreement. and what comes at the end of this agreement must be a mechanism that does in fact deny iran the ability to develop a nuclear weapon. that means no uranium enrichment in iran, no nuclear terlz stokc
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stored in iran. and also working with partners, to provide iran the access and the means to peaceful uses of nuclear materials. nuclear power, medical applications and industrial applications, but that would be done under a very controlled process, working with other partners to do that. whether iran is prepared to chart a pathway that looks like that, we'll only know once we engage in discussions. >> many members of this committee look forward to working with you to make sure that we are restraining iran's nuclear ambitions effectively, fiercely, and that we are implementing what we get out of that current agreement and reviewing it closely going forward. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i appreciate your observation that every administration is anxious to work with congress until such a time it in any way inhibits their ability to do whatever they wish. thank you for that. senator portman.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. tillerson, it has been a long morning and now going into a long afternoon. i think i'm the one person between you and a break. so i'll try to be as quick as i can and, look, i appreciate your willing not step forward and serve your country, and i know it is not without some sacrifice. but also incredible opportunity. we talked a little in my office and i appreciate your meeting with me about restoring america's role in the world. and just listening today to your testimony back and forth, i think there is a consensus building in this country that we do need to do some things immediately to put america back in a position of being trusted and respected by our allies or adversaries. i like to look at it more, we're not looking to be the world's policeman, but to put it in texas terms, more like the sheriff, who gets the posse together and the eastern border of ukraine and in crimea, that would be nato. and although yukraine isn't a
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member, and those countries with leadership, with regard to syria, it is the kurds, it is the sunni countries in the neighborhood, and so it is the posse. and in the south china sea, china has been increasingly aggressi aggressive, pacific rim countries are very nervous, but they're looking for leadership and that security umbrella we provided since world war ii has kept the peace. i hope that's consistent with what you have told me in private and what you're saying here publicly today. i think there is an opportunity as well as a sacrifice related to your service. as we talked about in our meeting, a number of my constituents in my home state of ohio have family ties to eastern and central europe including ukraine, very interested in those issues. as a result, i've gotten much more deeply involved in those issues over the last several years including traveling to that region. and my question is going to focus on that. first, on nato. just to be clear, i know there was some discussion about nato earlier, particularly article
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five, which reads an armed attack against one or more members shall be considered an attack against them all. can you clarify that you believe article five creates a binding obligation to assist any member of the alliance that is a victim of aggression regardless of their size or geographic location. >> yes, sir, i do. >> and as secretary of state, would you ever threaten to break the u.s. commitment to article five as a means of pressuring allies to spend more on defense? >> i would not recommend that, no, sir. >> okay. understanding that i think all of us around this dious would like to see our partner step up and do more in terms of the defense budget. since 2014, ukraine struggled to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity against this russian aggression. it has been discussed here a lot today. one point that has not been discussed in the way i think it ought to be is the fact that back in 1994, united states, britain, russia and ukraine signed an agreement, the budapest memorandum, which said
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when ukraine regained the independence following the collapse, having possessed the third largest nuclear arsenal, in exchange for giving up the nuclear arsenal, we would ensure the integrity. that's very important. it sends a signal. what kind of signal does that send? clearly that agreement has been violated by russia. and the question is, you know, whether we're going to keep to that agreement as well in my view. so couple of questions. one, in your written statement, you talk about the taking of crimea, talked a little bit about that. just to clarify, do you regard the russian annexation of crimea as an illegal occupation and annexation and in direct violation of ukrainian sovereignty? >> yes, i do. >> okay. do you pledge the united states would never recognize that annexation of crimea if you serve as secretary of state, similar the way the united states never recognized the soviet occupation of the baltic states? >> the only way that could ever happen is if there were some
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broader agreement that was satisfactory to the ukrainian people. so absent that, no, we would never recognize that. >> okay. i think that's fair. if the president-elect were to ask you for your advice as secretary of state on whether he should maintain sanctions against russia for its actions in ukraine and eastern -- in crimea, until russia ceases aggression and full filled its obligation under the minsk agreements, what would you tell him? >> as i indicated earlier, i would recommend maintaining the status quo until we're able to engage with russia and understand better what their intentions are. >> does that mean keeping the sanctions in place? >> yes, sir. >> as russia continues arming, training, organizing and fighting alongside this effort, do you support providing defensive lethal assistance so ukrainians can defend themselves? >> i think it is important that we should support the ukrainians in all ways to protect
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themselves from any further expansion or aggression. i'm hopeful the cease-fires will hold. but in the absence of that, then it is -- i think it is important for us to support them in their ability to defend themselves. >> so you would provide them with defensive lethal weapons to be able to defend themselves? >> that would come in consultation through the national security council and certainly would require the input of others, but i would support that. >> the administration has chosen not to do that. they have used national security waivers, my chairman talked about earlier. i think this is significant and i heard you say that earlier today, and i think this is a big change in terms of u.s. policy that is positive and would get russia to the table in my view. we talked a lot about the terrorist threat here today and obviously that's a growing threat that we need to address. and much more aggressive way. i believe there is another growing threat to our national security. and to this the stability of our allies around the world and
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democratic allies in particular. it is not a kinetic or military threat, it is problpaganda, it disinformation, russia, china, in particular, but also other countries, are more and more pursuing these extensive disinformation and propaganda campaigns against the united states and other democracies. and by the way, this happened well before our most recent presidential election. and the information we have today about what might have happened here in this country, i think it is part of a broader effort that we ought to be more focused on, which is this effort of disinformation. and not just by russia. when i've been to ukraine and the baltic countries, members of nato, i've been struck by the conversations they've had with their leadership. this is the top of their mind, top of their list. they feel like they're under assault every day, they feel like their sovereign democratically elected governments that are being attacked through this disinformation and propaganda campaigns, i've also been struck by recent public comments by officials in germany, in the uk,
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and over time comments by our friends in japan, taiwan, and other places about these kinds of operations in the meddling in their democracies. as you know, these operations blend a range of tools and methods including cyberattacks and hacking false news, troll farms to flood the zone on social media, new think tanks here in this town, and political organizations that help them. and also state owned media, some of whom are following your hearing today and are here in the room with us today. senator murphy and i have legislation recently signed into law that is meant to strengthen our outdated u.s. response to this disinformation, propaganda campaigns and establish as a new agency center at the state department to coordinate and synchronize u.s. counterpropaganda activities against foreign threats, just been passed, just being set up. my question to you is, one, how would you characterize the threat posed by foreign government influence operations, not just russia, but in general. and second, what should be done about it. do you support the establishment
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at the new agency and would you put your personal support behind that? >> as i indicated in that response to your question earlier, in terms of the broader threat of cyberand i put all of the activities you just described as a subset, because those are largely delivered through digital means to people and in terms of the propaganda or the undermining, the placing of fake news, all of that is done by enlarging the digital space. so it is part of this comprehensive cyber strategy, it has to include how do we deal with all of this misinformation that goes on around the world, and there are a number of actors playing in this space, russia most notably as you point out. but we know that others are playing in this space as well to undermine legitimate governments. to be honest, the bad actors have got the jump on us. they have been at this already for some time. and we have failed to develop a way to respond to that in that digital space. so this is a -- it is a very
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complex technical issue i think has to be part of the comprehensive assessment of how are we going to -- how is the u.s. going to protect itself, in the cyberspace, and all of the aspects of those threats that presents themselves and including the one you just described. and what are the mechanisms for response, appropriate responses and how do we get international agreement around some of that, that sends messages back to the bad actors that there is going to be -- there is going to be a cost if this continues, there is a consequence to these actions. what is that -- what is the proper proportional or if it is not proportional, maybe it is asymmetrical. i don't note answers. because i think that's part of the -- what's needed in a comprehensive assessment, multiagency, inner agency driven. but that is, i think, one of the most vexing challenges in front of us, but we can't just be vexed by it. we need to begin to address it. >> it sounds like you acknowledge the threat.
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i would just add one footnote, i don't disagree with you that our cyberresponse is the weakest part of our response and we need to strengthen that. but it is beyond cyber. this is, again, it is media, it is funding, think tanks that are spreading disinformation and false news. it is some of it is pretty old-fashioned and, you know, we're just not up to the task. and radio free europe isn't the answer. it has to be much more sophisticated and i look forward to working with you in that regard. >> thank you. we will recess until 2:15 sharp. we will begin with senator risch and booker if they are here. and then start at the beginning. i'll see you at 2:15.
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so the first thing of rex tillerson's confirmation hearing and lunch break as you heard. more questioning is expected when they return in 45 minutes or so. some news coming out of this. as this break continues, we'll give you a look at the scene here outside of the hearing room here in the dirksen senate
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office building. our c-span camera here near the senator's entrance. and we'll see some of them -- some of the senators leaving through this door. you can see protesters also from time to time as they are lined up in the hall, there have been protests throughout the hearing. and some news coming out of this hearing this afternoon. secretary of state nominee rex tillerson sought today to assuage bipartisan concerns about his ties to russia. testifying at his confirmation hearing, he thinks moscow poses a danger, blasting the country's annexation of crimea, though he refused to go so far as to call vladimir putin a war criminal during a contentious back and forth with senator marco rubio, which you will probably see a little bit later today when we reair all of this on the c-span networks. brady dennis of the washington post writing, this headline, recounting what the nominee had to say about climate change. offering that the risk of climate change does exist, rex tillerson said today he arrived at his personal position on
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climate change over a 20-year period, working as an engineer and a scientist to understand the problem and ultimately concluded the risk of climate change does exist and the consequences could be serious enough that action should be taken. that was said during the hearing today. also, town hall reporting on some of the protests that have taken during the confirmation hearings. a number of the members of the group codepink were apparently removed from the hearing room before the committee was gavelled to order. other protests were quelled by capitol police as well. and byron tell tweeting, tillerson completes to only recusing himself from exxonmobil decisions for a single year, a period roired by law.