tv Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson Testifies at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN January 15, 2017 1:26pm-3:13pm EST
6:35 p.m. on c-span and on www.c-span.org. you can also listen on the free c-span radio app. >> at hearing was held on wednesday for former exxon mobil ceo rex tillerson. president-elect donald trump has not him to be secretary of state. this hearing is about an hour and 45 -- has nominated him to be secretary of state. this hearing is about an hour -- 45 minutes.to today, my is here sister as well. a lifelong educator. a math teacher and coach teaching for many years in the texas public school systems. brother-in-law who is now --
or has just begun his fifth term on the bench for the district court's of abilene, texas. i appreciate the support they had given me in my past endeavors, but also they would come up from texas to be with me today. >> good morning. i am honored to have the backing of senator cruz from my home state of texas. i want to thank senator nine to his commitment to the ending of nuclear proliferation. german corker, ranking member card and, members of the committee -- chairman corker,
ranking members of the committee, it is an honor to be in front of you for this hearing for my confrontation -- confirmation as secretary of state. everywhere we look, people and nations are deeply unsettled. old ideas and national norms that were old -- were long understood may no longer be effective in our time. we face considered it -- considerable threats in this evolving and are met. china has emerged as a global power in economic trade. our interactions have been both friendly and adversarial. while russia seeks respect on the global stage, the recent activities has is regarded american interests. radical islam is not a new ideology but it is hateful, expression a wrong
of the islamic faith. as we confront these realities, how should america respond? my answer is simple. to achieve this ability that is foundational to peace and security, american leadership must not only be renewed but asserted. we have many advantages on which to build. our alliances are durable, and our alliances -- our allies are looking forward to our return to leadership. our men and women represent the world's strongest fighting force. [inaudible] >> senators, be brave. protect my community. protect america. i reject you. mr. tillerson: our men and
women in uniform are the world's finest fighting force. we possess the world's largest economy. america is still the destination of choice for people the world over because of our track record of benevolence and hope for our fellow man. america has been indispensable in providing the stability to prevent another world war, increase global prosperity and encourage the expansion of liberty. our role in the world has also historically entailed a place of moral leadership in the scope of international affairs america's level of good will toward the world is unique. we must continue to display a commitment to personal liberty, human dignity and principled action in our foreign policy. quite simply, we are the only global super power with the means and the moral compass capable of shaping the world for good. if we do not lead, we risk plunging the world deeper into confusion and danger. but we have stumbled.
in recent decades we have cast american leadership into doubt. in some instances we have withdrawn from the world. in others we have intervened with good intentions but didn't that he the stability and global security we sought. instead our actions and our nonactions have triggered a host of unintended consequences and created a void of uncertainty. today our friends still want to help us. but they don't know how. meanwhile our adversaries have been emboldened to take advantage of the absence of american leadership. in this campaign, president-elect trump proposed a bold new commitment to advancing american interests in our foreign policy. i hope to explain what this approach means and how i would implement it if confirmed as secretary of state. americans welcome this rededication to american security, liberty and prosperity. but new leadership is incomplete without accountability. if accountability doesn't start
with ourselves, we cannot credibly extend it to our friends and adversaries. we must hold ourselves accountable to upholding the promises we make to others and an america that can be trusted in good faith is essential to supporting our partners achieving our goals and assuring , our security. we must hold our allies accountable to commitments they make. we cannot look the other way at allies who do not meet their obligations. this is an injustice not only to us but to longstanding friends who honor their promises and bolster our own national security, such as israel. we must hold those who aren't our friends accountable to the agreements they make. our failure to do this over the recent decade has diminished our standing and encouraged bad actors around the world to break their word. we cannot afford to ignore violations of international accords as we have done with iran. we cannot continue to accept
empty promises like the ones china has made to pressure north korea to reform only to shy away from enforcement. looking the other way when trust is broken only encourages more bad behavior. it must end. we cannot be accountable though if we are not truthful and honest in our dealings. as you are aware, my it's -- my longstanding involvement with the boy scouts of america, one of our bedrock ideals is honesty. indeed the phrase "on my honor" begins the boy scout oath. it must undergird our foreign policy. in particular, we need to be honest about radical islam. it is with good reason our fellow citizens have a growing concern about radical islam and the murderous acts committed in its name against americans and our friends. radical islam poses a grave risk to the stability of nations and the well-being of citizens. powerful digital media platforms
now allow isis, al qaeda, and other terror groups to spread a poisonous ideology that runs completely counter to the values of the american people and all people around the world who value human life. these groups are often enabled and emboldened by nations, organizations and individuals sympathetic to their cause. these actors must face consequences for aiding and abetting what can only be called evil. the most urgent step in thwarting radical islam is defeating isis. the middle east and its surrounding regions pose many challenges which require our attention including syria, iraq and afghanistan. there are competing priorities in this region which must be and will be addressed but they must not distract from our mission of defeating isis. because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. defeating isis must be our foremost priority in the middle east. eliminating isis would be the
first step in disrupting the capabilities of other groups and individuals committed to striking our homeland and our allies. the demise of isis would allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical islam like al qaeda, the muslim brotherhood and certain elements within iran. but defeat will not occur on the battlefield alone. we must win the war of ideas. if confirmed, i will ensure the state department does its part in supporting muslims around the world who reject radical islam in all its forms. we should also acknowledge the realities about china. china's island building in the south china sea is an illegal taking of disputed areas without regard for international norms. china's economic and trade practices haven't always followed its commitments to global agreements. it steals our intellectual property and is aggressive and expansionist in the digital realm. it has not been a reliable
partner in using its full influence to curb north korea. china has proven a willingness to act with abandon in the pursuit of its own goals which at times put it in conflict with american interests. we have to deal with what we see, not what we hope. but we need to see the positive dimensions in our relationship with china as well. the economic well-being of the two nations is deeply intertwined. china has been a valuable ally in curtailing certain elements of radical islam. we should not let disagreements over other issues exclude areas for productive partnership. we must also be clear-eyed about our relationship with russia. russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests. it invaded the ukraine including the taking of crimea and supported syrian forces that
brutally violates the laws of war. our nato allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent russia. but it is in the absence of american leadership the door was left open and unintended signals were sent. we backtracked on commitments we made to allies. we sent weak or mixed signals with red lines that turned into green lights. we did not recognize that russia does not think like we do. words alone do not sweep away a uneven and at times contentious history between our two nations. we need an open and frank dialogue with russia regarding its ambitions so we know how to chart our own course. where cooperation with russia is based on common interest is possible, such as reducing the global threat of terrorism we ought to explore these options. where important differences remain we should be steadfast in defending the interests of america and her allies.
russia must know that we will be accountable to our commitments and those of our allies and that russia must be held to account for its actions. our approach to human rights begins by acknowledging that american leadership requires moral clarity. we do not face an either or choice on defending global human rights. our values are our interests when it comes to human rights and humanitarian assistance. it is unreasonable to expect that every policy endeavor will be driven by human rights considerations alone. especially when the security of the american people is at stake. but our leadership demands actions specifically focused on improving the conditions of people the world over, utilizing both aid and where appropriate economic sanctions as instruments of foreign policies. we must adhere to standards of accountability. our recent engagements with cuba was not accompanied by
significant concessions on on human rights. we have not held them accountable for their conduct. their leaders received much while the people received little. that serves neither the interests of cubans or americans. abraham lincoln declared america is the last best hope of earth. our moral light must not go out if we are to remain an agent for freedom of man kind. supporting human rights and the key component to clarifying to the watching world what america stands for. in closing let us be proud about the ideals that define us. in the liberties we have secured a great cost. the ingenuity's, ideas and culture of americans who came before us made the united states the greatest nation in history. so have their sacrifices. we should never forget we stand on the shoulders of those who sacrificed much and in some cases everything. they include fallen heroes in
uniform. our foreign services officers and other americans in the field who gave all for their country. if confirmed in my work for the president and the american people, i will seek to engender trust with foreign leaders and governments and put in place agreements that serve the interests of american foreign policy. the secretary of state works for the president and seeks to implement his foreign policy objectives. to do that i must work with my cabinet colleagues and all relevant departments of the administration to build consensus. let me stress that keeping the president's trust means keeping the public trust. in keeping in public trust means keeping faith with their elected representatives. i want the members of the committee to know that should i be confirmed i will listen to your concerns and those of your staff and partner together to achieve great things for the country we all love.
i am an engineer by training. i seek to understand the facts, follow where they lead and apply logic to all international affairs. we must see the world for what it is, have clear priorities and understand that our power is considerable but it is not infinite. we must where possible build partnerships and strengthen old bonds which have frayed. if confirmed, i intend to conduct a foreign policy consistent with these ideals. we will never apologize for who we are or what we hold dear. we will see the world for what it is, be honest with ourselves and the american people, follow facts where they lead us, and hold ourselves and others accountable. i thank you for your time and look forward to your questions. chairman corker: thank you very much for your testimony. do you commit to appear and testify upon request from this committee? mr. tillerson: yes, sir.
chairman corker: i know the committee members and i rarely give opening statements, certainly not expansive ones like i gave. in order to move this along i will reserve my time for interjections and move to the ranking member, senator carden and then senator rubio. senator carden: once again, thank you very much, mr. tillerson. do you agree with me that creating a stable democratic free societies around the world that support the aspirations of their people including basic human rights is in our long-term national security interest? mr. tillerson: without question, senator. senator carden: do you agree that russia under mr. putin's leadership fails in that category? mr. tillerson: yes, sir. senator carden: in order to provide international leadership is facing issue here is thousands of people in russia have been harmed or killed as a result of mr. putin's leadership. millions have been impacted by that.
there is one person who lost his life in a courageous way sergei miknikski, a young attorney representing a client with u.s. interests. found corruption, did what any lawyer is supposed to do -- report it to the authorities. as a result he was arrested, tortured and killed. and those who benefitted from the corruption were held with no accountability whatsoever. through u.s. leadership we brought that case to the international forum. the congress has passed a law. other countries have now passed similar laws to deny our banking system and the right to visit our country to those who perpetrated those gross violations of human rights that were not held accountable by russia. do you support that law? mr. tillerson: yes, sir, i do. senator cardin: thank you for that. because under the obama administration there have been
individuals who have been internationally -- individually sanctioned under that law and five more added on monday. that law provides for congress to be able to submit through appropriate channels additional names to be reviewed by the administration for inclusion for sanctions. do you commit that you will follow that provision on names that we submit to you for potential sanctions for human rights violations under that law? mr. tillerson: senator, i will ensure that if confirmed, myself and the state department will comply with that law. senator cardin: this year under the national defense authorization act that was extended globally. it now applies to human rights violations throughout the world. do you also commit to support the global law using the tools of our visa restrictions to our
desperate human rights violators from coming to america? mr. tillerson: consistent with all applicable laws that might impact immigration we'll endeavor to comply, yes. senator cardin: the laws allowed the secretary of state -- visas are privileges that come to america. there is no due process issue on issuing a visa. this is a privilege to come to a country. so we have -- there is no -- i'm not aware of any restrictions on your ability to with draw the right of someone to come to america. other than through treaties that have diplomats that come in which is exempted from that provision. mr. tillerson: i understand. that's what i intended. i think i would ensure that an full examination was made of any and all applicable laws or policies, but then we would follow those and implement. senator cardin: you mentioned in your statement about the invasion by russia of crimea,
does russia in your view have a legal claim to crimea? mr. tillerson: no, sir. that was a taking of territory that was not theirs. senator cardin: do you agree that russia has not complied with a minsk agreement? mr. tillerson: the process as i understand it continues. a full completion has not yet been achieved. senator cardin: so i want to get your view on the sanctions that the united states applied. maybe i will drill down by asking you the first question. you stated in your statement that part of the reason why russia or we were ineffective in preventing russia is we didn't exercise strong enough international leadership. what would you have done or recommended to have been done to prevent russia from doing what it did? mr. tillerson: in terms of the
taking of crimea, i think my understanding is that caught a lot of people by surprise. it certainly caught me by surprise, just as a private citizen. i think the real question was the response to the taking of crimea which then led to subsequent actions by russia which i mentioned. the next action being coming across the border of eastern ukraine with both military assets and men. that was the next illegal action. i think the absence of a firm and forceful response to the taking of crimea was judged by the leadership in russia as a weak response. senator cardin: what would you have done after we were surprised by what they did in taking over crimea, what should the u.s. leadership have done in response to that that we didn't do? mr. tillerson: i would have recommended that the ukraine take all of its military assets
it had available, put them on the eastern border, provide those assets with defensive weapons that are necessary just to defend themselves, announce that the u.s. is going to provide them intelligence and that either nato or u.s. will provide air surveillance over the border to monitor movements. senator cardin: your recommendation is a more robust supply of military? mr. tillerson: yes, sir. i think what russian leadership would have understood is a powerful response that indicated, yes, you took crimea, but this stops here. senator cardin: our nato partners, particularly in the baltics and poland, are very concerned about russian aggression. nato has deployed troops in this region order to show russia that article five means something. i take it you support that type of action? mr. tillerson: i do.
that's the type of response that russia expects. if russia acts with force, taking of crimea was an act of force. they did not just voluntarily volunteer themselves. it requires a proportional act or a proportional show will force to indicate a russia there will be no more taking of territory. senator cardin: that's encouraging. it's not consistent with what mr. trump has been saying in regards to article v, commitments under nato by the united states. i appreciate your commitment or views on the issue. let me get to the response that was done. we imposed u.s.-led sanctions against russia as a result of its conduct in ukraine. we went to europe and were able to get europe to act. the united states wanted to go further but we couldn't get europe to go beyond what they were willing to do. do you agree or disagree with
that strategy for the united states to lead by showing sanctions as we did? mr. tillerson: senator, sanctions are a powerful tool an important tool in terms of deterring additional action once actors have acted up and we want to deter any further action on their part. so, yes, american leadership is often times, if not almost always required to demonstrate that first step. senator cardin: as you understand, unless we move and we have to move in a strong position, we are going to be the best. we're going to get the strongest reaction on sanctions from the united states. we saw it in iran and i know that some of us mentioned to you the legislation that was filed yesterday. i don't know if we have had a chance yet to respond or not. i might do that for questions for the record. we have legislation i would urge you to look at that seems consistent with what you are saying here that would provide
the administration with the tools to show russia that if you attack us by cyber or you continue to do what you're doing in ukraine or what you are doing in georgia, that there will be an economic price you're going to pay. i take it you believe that's a powerful tool and one that you would consider applying. mr. tillerson: senator, i have not had the opportunity to review the legislation. i am aware it's been introduced. yes, i think in carrying out the state department diplomacy or carrying out its important role in trying to negotiate to a different course of action to a different pathway we need a strong deterrent in our hand. it's the old tenet of teddy roosevelt, walk softly and carry a big stick. in diplomacy, it is useful to have a stick that's in your hand so that whether you use it or not it becomes part of that conversation.
senator cardin: i appreciate that. let me ask a final question. i was meeting with mr. pruitt yesterday and i asked about his view on climate issues. he said you should ask the secretary of state nominee. so i will ask you. that is we were part of cop 21. do you agree the united states should continue in international leadership on climate change issues with the international community? mr. tillerson: i think it is important that the united states maintain its seat at the table on the conversations around how to address threats of climate change which do require a global response. no one country will solve this alone. chairman corker: thank you. senator rubio? senator rubio: welcome. do you believe during the 2016 presidential campaign russian intelligence services directed a campaign of active measures involving the hacking of e-mails, the strategic leak of e-mails, the use of internet trolls and dissemination of fake news with the goal of denigrate a presidential candidate and
undermining faith in your election process? mr. tillerson: senator, i have had no unclassified briefings because i have not yet received my clearance yet. however i did read the interagency report released on january 6. that report is clearly troubling and indicates that all of the actions you described were undertaken. senator rubio: based on your knowledge of russian leaders and russian politics, do you believe the activities could have happened without the knowledge and consent of vladimir putin? mr. tillerson: i'm not in a position to make that determination. again that's indicated in the , report. but i know there is additional classified information. senator rubio: you have engaged in significant business activities in russia. i'm sure you are aware that very few things of major proportion happen in that country without vladimir putin's permission. i ask based on your views of russian politics and your experience, is it possible for something like this involving the united states elections to have happened without vladimir putin knowing about it and authorizing it?
mr. tillerson: that's a fair assumption. senator rubio: that he would have? mr. tillerson: yes. senator rubio: if congress passed the bill imposing mandatory visa bans and asset free sanctions on persons who engage in significant activities undermining the cyber security of public and private infrastructure and democratic institutions in the united states, would you advise the president to sign it? mr. tillerson: i would certainly want to examine all the corners, all four corners of that. senator rubio: those are the four corners. we would sanction people involved in cyber attacks against the united states and interfering in our elections. mr. tillerson: the threat of cyber attacks is a broad issue. those are coming from many corners of the world. certainly this most recent manifestation, and i think the new threat posed in terms of how russia has used this as a tool, that introduces even another element of threat. but cyber attacks are occurring from many nations. senator rubio: no matter where they come from. if they come from belgium or france, if someone is conducting
cyber attacks against the united states and we pass a law that authorizes the president to sanction them or imposes sanctions as mandatory, would you advise the president to sign it? mr. tillerson: i think it is the second element that leaves the executive branch no latitude or flexibility in dealing with the broad array of cyber threats. i think it is important those be dealt with on a country by country basis. taking all other elements into consideration in the relationship. so giving the executive the tool is one thing. requiring the executive to use it without any other considerations, i would have concerned about. senator rubio: i understand your testimony. you are saying it was mandatory. you would not advise the president to sign it because you want to have the president have the flexibility to decide which countries to sanction and which ones to not sanction. mr. tillerson: under which circumstances do you sanction? senator rubio: in essence because you want to, for example, take other things into account like for example the desire to improve relations with
that country and therefore the president maybe doesn't want to sanction them even though they are attacking us. mr. tillerson: there could be a whole array of important issues that require consideration including trading issues. trade relation issues, mutual agreements around our national security. so i don't think it's appropriate and certainly for me at this time to indicate that i would just say it's a blanket application. i think that is the role of the executive branch. it is the role of the secretary of state and the state department to assist and inform the president in judgments about how to use what is clearly a powerful tool. senator rubio: again, what's troubling about your answer is the implication that somehow if there is some country that we are trying to improve relations with or have significant ties with the president, you may advise the president not to impose sanctions on that country
or individuals in that country out of concern that it could damage the rest of our relationship with them on a cyber attack which is a direct attack on our national security, and our electoral process. let me ask you would you advise , the president-elect to repeal the obama administration's recent executive orders regarding cyber security and russian interference in the 2016 elections? mr. tillerson: i think the president-elect has indicated and if confirmed i would support that what's really required is a comprehensive assessment of our cyber threat and cyber security policies. in my view based on what i have been able to read and have been briefed we do not have a cyber security policy. we do not have a comprehensive strategy around how to deal with what's been a rapidly emerging threat. as i said, we are seeing it manifest itself in ways that we never envisioned. senator rubio: mr. tillerson, i understand the cyber security plan. we have to have one to protect ourselves and handle cyber attacks. that is separate from the
question of whether people who already conducted attacks should be sanctioned and singled out. there is an executive order no active that is sanctioned those individuals and my question is do you believe that executive order should be repealed by the incoming president? mr. tillerson: if confirmed, i would want to examine all aspects of it in consultation not only with the president but with other agencies having input on this test of their views. senator rubio: again, mr. tillerson, if they say certain individuals responsible for cyber actions against the united states will be sanctioned and you need to examine whether that's a good idea or not, is that correct? mr. tillerson: yes, sir. senator rubio: let me ask you. is vladimir putin a war criminal? mr. tillerson: i would not use that term. senator rubio: let me describe the situation in aleppo. perhaps it will help you reach that conclusion. mr. putin has directed his military to conduct a devastating campaign. he's targeted schools, markets. not just assisted the syrians.
his military has targeted schools, markets, other infrastructure resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians. this is not the first time mr. putin was involved in campaigns of this kind. back when he was just appointed prime minister before he was elected. i'm sure you're aware during iod of time there was a series of bombings. they blamed it on the chechans. mr. putin ordered the air force capital withhechen scud missiles to hit hospitals, the main outdoor market packed with shoppers. 137 people died instantly. they use them american -- thermoberic and field explosive bombs which ignite and burn the air breathed in by people hiding. he used battlefield weapons against civilians. when all was said and done an estimated 300,000 civilians were killed in the city was destroyed. there was a credible body of reporting, open source and other, that all the bombings were part of a black flag operation on the part of the fsb
and if you want to know the motivation, here it is. putin's approval ratings before the attacks against the chechens were 31%. by mid august of that year it was 78% in just three months. based on this information and what's publically in the record about what happened in aleppo and the russian military you are still not prepared to say vladimir putin and his military have violated the rules of war and conducted war crimes in aleppo. mr. tillerson: those are very serious charges to make. i would want to have much more information before reaching a conclusion. i understand there is a body of record in the public domain. i'm sure there is a body of record in the classified domain. i think in order to deal with a serious question like this -- senator rubio: in the public domain, video and pictures are there. mr. tillerson: i would want to be fully informed before advising the president. senator rubio: there is so much information out there about what happened in aleppo. leading the chechen issue aside,
there is so much clearly documented information. it should not be hard to say that vladimir putin's military conducted war crimes in aleppo. it is never acceptable, you would agree, for a military to specifically target civilians which is what happened there through the russian military and, you know, i find it discouraging your inability to cite that which i think is globally accepted. i want to in my last minute and a half move quickly. i want to enter into things into the record. chairman corker: without objection. senator rubio: the first is a partial list of political dissidents, journalists and critics of putin who died under highly suspicious circumstances. the second thing is a letter addressed to this committee by vladimir morza who was murdered. he was an opponent of the putin regime. i would like to enter that into the record. chairman corker: without objection. senator rubio: mr. tillerson, do you believe that vladimir putin and his cronies are responsible for ordering the murder of
countless dissidents, journalists and political opponents? mr. tillerson: i don't have sufficient information to make that claim. senator rubio: are you aware people who oppose vladimir putin wind up dead all over the world -- poisoned, shot in the back of the head? do you think that's coincidental or do you think it is quite possible or likely is i believe they were part of an effort to murder his political opponents? mr. tillerson: people who speak up for freedom and regimes that are repressive are often a threat. these things happen to them. in terms of assigning specific responsibilities, i would have to have more information. as i indicated i feel it is important in advising the president if confirmed that i deal with facts, i deal with sufficient information which means having access to all information. i'm sure there is a large body of information i have never seen that's in the classified realm.
i look forward if confirmed to becoming fully informed. but i am not willing to make conclusions on what's only publically available or -- senator rubio: none of this is classified. these people are dead. political opponents -- mr. tillerson: your question was people who were directly responsible for that. i'm not disputing the people are dead. chairman corker: senator mendez. senator menendez: congratulations on your nomination. thank you for coming to meet with me. i would like to take the opportunity to expand upon the conversation we had last week. since you have worked in one sector for one company throughout your entire career, getting a sense of your world view is incredibly important since you will be the chief advocate and adviser to the president-elect on those issues. i would like to go through a series of questions. i think many of them can be answered by a simple yes or no. others will probably take a greater, more extensive answer. you have alluded to some of this in your opening statement. let me go through several of
them. do you believe it is in the national interest of the united states to continue to support international laws and norms that were established after world war ii? mr. tillerson: yes, sir. senator menendez: do you believe that the international order includes respecting the territorial integrity of sovereign countries in the of their borders? mr. tillerson: yes, sir. senator menendez: did russia violate this order when it forcefully annexed crimea and invade ukraine? mr. tillerson: yes. it did. senator menendez: did russia's continuing occupation of foreign countries violate international laws and norms? mr. tillerson: i'm not sure which specific countries you are referring to. senator menendez: crimea, eastern ukraine georgia, just to , name a few. mr. tillerson: yes, sir. menendez: do russian and syrian targeted bombing in aleppo violate this? mr. tillerson: yes. that is unacceptable
behavior. senator menendez: does it constitute war crimes? mr. tillerson: again, i don't have significant information to make that type of serious conclusion. coming to that conclusion will require me to have additional -- senator menendez: do you understand the standard for the war? mr. tillerson: i do. senator menendez: and you cannot say whether those actions constitute a war crime or not? mr. tillerson: i do not want to rely solely upon on what is in the public. i would want confirmation from agencies who can present me with indisputable facts. chairman corker: if you have sufficient evidence in looking at classified information that that had taken place would that , not be a war crime? mr. tillerson: yes, sir. senator menendez: does the president-elect agree with you? mr. tillerson: the president-elect and i have not
had the opportunity to discuss this specific issue or the specific area. senator menendez: in your statement on page three, you say, "in his campaign, the president-elect trump poses a bold new initiative in public policy. i hope to and limit that policy as secretary of state." i assume to some degree, you have had a this gush and about what it is that worldview is going to be and whether you can execute that on behalf of the person you are working for. mr. tillerson: in a broad construct and the sense that will guide that, yes, sir. senator menendez: i thought russia would be at the top of that. mr. tillerson: that is not occurred yet, senator. senator menendez: you build a career on exxon mobil that you said afforded you to interact with leaders, including russia
and vladimir putin. in 2013, he were to do with the order of friendship award. you told me you had directed personal access to the most -- russian president during the course of your tenure. then in 2014, exxon mobil lobbied aggressively against sanctions on russia after the invasion on ukraine. exxon lobbied against the stability of democracy for ukraine act that i introduced last year. you employed well-known washington lobbyist to employ these efforts. you personally visited the white house and reported you were engaged at the highest levels of government. in essence, exxon became the in-house lobbyist for russia against sanctions. sanctions are one of the most effective diplomatic tools in our arsenal, one that we rely on to avoid putting american lives at risk. by engaging in traditional warfare. to your response previous question, you sent
sanctions are a powerful tool. but you have made statements and given speeches we have said you do not believe sanctions are a useful tool. if sanctions are not a useful tool, have you changed your view? what are the tools of peaceful diplomacy that you will use to get countries to return and act within the international order? what are you going to say to vladimir putin 20 says -- when he says you sent sanctions are bad? mr. tillerson: i think it is important to acknowledge that when sanctions are imposed, they by design are going to harm american business. that is the idea, to disrupt america's business engagement in whatever country is targeted for sanctions. senator menendez: i do not think it is to disrupt american business. i think it is to disrupt the economies of those countries. american business may be or may not be affected to some degree. mr. tillerson: american has ans -- america
influence as economies, the intent behind the sanctions is to disrupt the country's access to american business. investment, money flows, technology, the financial sectors. i'm only stating a fact, i'm not debating it. the fact is that sanctions, in order to be implemented to -- do in fact american business -- do in fact affect american business interests. in protecting america's interests, where i think the president-elect would see the argument as well, sanctions are a powerful tool. let's designed them well and target them well and then let's enforce them fully to the extent we can if we can have other countries join us or if we are designing sanctions in concert, let's ensure the sanctions apply equally everywhere. senator menendez: when you made your remarks, and i have a long list you did not differentiate
, that way. you basically make the brought -- broad case that sanctions are not an effective tool. in your opening statement, you said that america must continue to display a commitment to personal weekly -- dignity principled action in foreign , policy, and the only -- we are the only global superpower capable of shaping the world for good -- i agree with you in that respect. mr. tillerson, our efforts in leading the international community in sanctions represent exactly that. leadership in a moral compass. it is not about disadvantaging american businesses. it is about putting patriotism over profit. diplomacy is not the same as dealmaking. diplomacy requires getting countries to do things that they may not always want to do and not necessarily something to trade for it. this is how we were able to
build an extensive and effective sanctions network over iran. through congress and diplomatic pressure from secretaries of state across different administrations we were able to build the framework of primary and secondary actions that ultimately crippled iran's economy. you lobbied against the iran sanctions accountability and divestment act, which i was the author of. he reportedly under exxon mobil, and i say you, the head of exxon mobil, wanted to illuminate secondary sections that would prevent joint ventures. 2004makes sense in 2003, and it doesn't you were engaged five, -- you were engaged in a 2005, subsidiary company in businesses with countries who the united states listed as state sponsors of terrorism including iran, syria, and the sudan. countries that, except for the maneuver of your subsidiary, exxon mobil cannot in dealing with. exxon mobil was listed as an
-- part of an adversary group that lobbies against sanctions. the group lobbied against sanctions in iran. it applauded passage of the joint comprehensive plan of action. my question is what that is a history, with the work you did in the spring of 2011, or you -- where you oversaw exxon mobil deal with the kurdish region of iraq, after the united states government expressly did not want to see that happen fearing and you would undermine the u.s. policy of one iraq and leave the country closer to civil war what , message are you now going to be able to send to american businesses who are intent on pursuing their own interests at the expense of policies and potential for political stability in foreign countries? how will you recalibrate your priorities as secretary of state? your shareholders are the american people and their security and interests.
mr. tillerson: there was a lot in that question. first of all, i never lobbied against sanctions, personally. senator menendez: the company you directed did. mr. tillerson: to my knowledge, exxon never directly lobbied against sanctions, not to my knowledge. in terms of all the other actions mentioned, they role undertaken with a great deal transparency and openness and engagement to the process. that is the beauty of the american process. others are invited to express their view in informed the process. , if confirmed as secretary of state will have one mission, to represent the interests of the american people. as i have stated multiple times, sanctions are an important and powerful tool. anddesigning for sanctions
having poor sanctions can of course affected having no sanctions at all. if they convey a weak response. it is important in designing sanctions that they are carefully crafted and carefully targeted within intended effect and then enforced, to the extent that american leadership can broaden participation in the sanctions. you are right, the iran sanctions were extremely effective because others joined in. chairman corker: thank you. senator menendez has played an incredible role for our nation a feature sanctions are in place and has led us all relative to iran. interjection,nger and that the records of your time right over to accommodate the injection i made earlier. it is my understanding -- i think you called me during this time -- that you're concern with the sanctions that were in place
relative to iran were not that they were put in place, but that europeans had put them in a way that was different. it caused adverse fashion adverse situation for u.s. business relative to european businesses. is that correct? mr. tillerson: cap was with respect to the sentence for russia that is correct. , chairman corker: on senator rubio's questions, i would understand how a nominee would wish to be careful on how they answer, especially one that plans to do what they say. in the event with many of those were he was asking about war crimes, if you were able through your own independent knowledge in working with classified agencies within the government to determine that the types of activities that he so well articulated took place you would agree those in fact be war crimes? mr. tillerson: yes, sir.
senator johnson. senator johnson: i want to pick up a little bit on sanctions. i've had my own legitimate concerns about the effectiveness of sanctions and the double and scored nature of them. for example you are well aware of the events and the public opinion inside russia. i'm concerned that some not well-designed sanctions can ,ctually solidify, for example vladimir putin's standing in russia. you said that russia is not unpredictable. it's another way of saying russia is not predicable. russia does not think like we do. can you further expand on both of those comments. mr. tillerson: in terms of their -- >> [indiscernible]
burn.ant to drill and that will ruin the climate and destroy the future for our children and grandchildren. please don't put exxon in charge of the state department. protect our children and grandchildren. please don't put exxon in charge of the state department. chairman corker, if we can stop the clock when these kinds of interferences take place, that would be appreciated. senator johnson? senator johnson: the question was explained your comments that russia is predicable and russia does not think like we do. expand on that. mr. tillerson: in my experience of both dealing with russia and representatives of russian government and russian entities, and then as my -- the length of
time i have spent in russia as a name server, my experience with russia and the russians are that they are very calculating. they are very strategic in their thinking. they develop a plan. >> you view the world's most vulnerable communities as expendable. in our home state of texas, people are resisting pipelines. whether or not you become secretary of state, people will not stop. senators, be brave! stop this man! protect the vulnerable. senators, be brave! project this man. protect the vulnerable! mr. tillerson: i have found the russians to be very strategic in their thinking, very tactical. they have a plan may have laid before them.
in terms of when i make a statement they are not unpredictable, if one is able to step back understand with their long-term motivation is, you will see the will chart a course and it's an understanding of how are they likely to carry that plan out. where are all the elements of that plan that are on the table? in my view, the leadership of russia has a plan. it is a geographic plan that is in front of them. they are taking actions to implement that plan. they are judging responses and making the next step in the plan based on the response. in that regard they are not unpredictable. if russia does not receive an adequate response, they will they will execute the next step of the plan. senator johnson: please summarize that plan that they seem to have. mr. tillerson: russia more than anything wants to establish its
role in the global world order. they have a view that following the breakup of the soviet union, they were mistreated in the transition period. they believe they deserve a rightful role in the world order because they are a nuclear power. they are searching as to how to establish that. for most of the past 20 plus years since the demise of the soviet union, they were not in a position to assert that. they have spent all these years developing the capability to do that. i think that is now what we are witnessing. an assertion on their part to force a conversation about what is russia's role in the global world order. the steps being taken are simply to make that point. that russia is here, it matters, and we are a force to be dealt with. that is a fairly predictable
course of action they are taking. i think the important conversation we have to have with them is does russia want to forever be in adversary of the united states? do you want this to get worse, or does russia desire a different relationship? we are not likely to ever be friends. as others have noted, our value systems are starkly different. we do not hold the same values. but i also know the russian people because of having spent so many years in russia. define ascope to different relationship that can temperaturehe around the current conflicts today. to anretary gates alluded secretary none in their opening remarks dialogue is critical so , that this does not spin out of control. we need to move russia from being an adversary always to a partner at times.
on other issues we will be adversaries. it is not unlike my comments i made on china. at times, china is friendly, and at times it is an adversary. but with russia engagement is necessary to define that relationship. then we will know how to chart our own plan of action to respond to that. senator johnson: in my mind, if i look at the spectrum of america's relationship with different nations you have , friends and allies, friendly rivals, unfriendly adversaries, and enemies. right now you're putting russia in the unfriendly adversary category? mr. tillerson: unfriendly to enemies. i think at this point they are clearly in the unfriendly adversary category. i hope they do not move to enemy because that would imply more direct conflict. sen. johnson: you don't hold much hope that we can move them into the friendly rival category?
maybe partners where we have mutual interests? mr. tillerson: senator, i tend to think three categories. there are friends, partners, and adversaries. at times, our friends are partners. from time to time on specific actions. our adversaries from time to time can be partners. but on other issues, we are not going to agree. so we remain adversaries. an adversary at the ideological level is one thing. an adversary at the direct conflict level level is very different. sen. johnson: i want to switch subjects. i agree that your business and private sector background and relationship with putin is an asset coming into this position. i come from the private sector. i think that kind of perspective is sorely needed. i don't think we have enough people from ivan sector -- private sector.
i think economic strength is inescapably linked to national strength. your background traveling the world -- how many countries have you traveled to? mr. tillerson: i have never actually counted them up. i would say over 40, somewhere between 40 and 50. i never counted them. sen. johnson: how many countries have you done deals with? where you dealt with top leadership? mr. tillerson: i have never counted those. it is certainly between 10 and 20, where i was directly engaged in a significant way. sen. johnson: as an somebody from the private sector, being asked to serve your nation, understanding you are going through a process like this, understanding all the disclosure leaving the life behind that i , am sure you valued what was , your greatest reservation saying yes? mr. tillerson: when i went through all of the analysis, all
of the reasons i had for saying no were all selfish reasons. i had no reason to say no. sen. johnson: you have responsibilities as ceo of exxon mobil. could you share your responsibility? your role is going to change. do you have any reservation? can you describe exactly what your mindset is for making that transition? mr. tillerson: i have no reservations about my clean break with my private sector life. it was a wonderful 41.5 year career. i am extraordinarily proud of it. i learned an awful lot. but now i'm moving to a completely different responsibility. my love of country and my patriotism will dictate that i serve no one's interest but people ine american advancing our national security. sen. johnson: as you traveled the world with a business mindset, working at developing
projects around the world, you are hearing from people around the world. former president carter in june of 2015 was commenting on president obama's foreign-policy. he said, "you can't think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over." president obama. the united states influence and prestige in the world is probably lower now than it was 6 or 7 years ago. is that your general sense as you travel around the world during the last eight years. power, prestige, respect is lower? we have not developed better relationships around the world? mr. tillerson: i don't know if i shared it with you in the meeting that we had but a shared with others. in many respects, i spent the last 10 years on unintended listening tour. as a traveled about the world
conducting affairs, engaging the top leadership, heads of state in many of these countries. i had the opportunity to listen to them express frustrations, their fears, their concerns as to the withdrawal and stepping back of america's leadership. the lack of that engagement. they are yearning and what american leadership reasserted. when i met with the president-elect and we were meeting about him asking me to do this, i indicated to him -- i said, mr. president, we have a top hand of cards that you have been dealt. i said there is no use in whining about it. any will just play that hand out. what i know is america still holds all of the aces. we just need to draw them out of that deck. leaders around the world want our engagement. i said you were going to be pushing on an open door because america -- people want america to come back. sen. johnson: one of the reasons i value private sector experience is the number of
times he used the words reality, fax,ty, moral leadership, use logic, clear priorities -- those of the words of a business person. that is why i think your perspective will be welcome at the state department thank you, . mr. tillerson. senator shaheen: thank you for being willing to consider the nomination which has been put forward to be secretary of state. i agree with your opening statement that the united states has an important role to play in the world. not just standing up for interests and values, but for democracy, press freedom, human rights, the rule of law. you were unwilling to agree with senator rubio's characterization of vladimir putin as a war criminal. you point out that russia has disregarded american interests.
i would suggest, as i think is been brought out in later testimony that not only has it , disregarded american interests, but international norms and humanitarian interests. the state department described russia as an authoritarian political system dominated by president vladimir putin. meanwhile freedom house puts russia in a category of countries like iran with very restrictive political rights real by one part or military dictatorship religious , hierarchy, or autocrat. do you agree with that characterization of russia and vladimir putin? mr. tillerson: i would have no reason to take exception. sen. shaheen: senator rubio and senator cardin talked about the people that have been victims of the putin authoritarian regime. behind me is a poster with a recent new york times story. i quote, "more kremlin opponents
i quote, "more kremlin opponents are ending up dead." i what unanimous consent to enter the article into the record. i think a picture is worth 1000 words. when you put a face to this man, as this poster does, then you see two other victims of the authoritarian regime in russia, it speaks to what is happening there. we should think about the country in dealing with president putin. i understand what former senator nunn and secretary gates said when they talked about the need to have dialogue with russia, and continue a relationship. i think it is important to understand who we are dealing with. in 2008, you notably said there
is no respect for the rule of law in russia today. do you think that continues to be true? mr. tillerson: that is still the case, yes. sen. shaheen: i think you can understand, mr. joe wilson, why -- mr. tillerson, why some of us are concerned about the president-elect's statements praising putin's leadership and persecution of political enemies. after receiving compelling information that russia has interfere in our election. do you think now is the right time to lift sanctions against russia? mr. tillerson: i think it is important that we keep the status quo until we can develop our approach. that will be all part of the approach. that is part of the incentives on one hand, or part of the greater pressure on the other, that will be an important element of developing complex conversation with russian.
if confirmed, that is the foreign-policy step i will be working with other inter-agencies, with classified information, as well as being informed by the views of others, to develop that strategic approach to engage with russia. i would leave things in the status quo so that we are able to convey that this can go either way. sen. shaheen: under your leadership, exxon mobil has invested over $100 million in its women's global economic initiative, partnering with the u.s. government and foreign governments. as you know, the state department places a high priority on global women's
empowerment, gender equity, combating violence against women. i was disturbed when there was a request from the trunk transition team to find out who the employees within the state department have been who have worked on gender equity programs. while i know that has been walked back by the team, i think it sends a chilling message to people in the state department, and to people concerned about efforts to empower women around the globe. can i ask whether you agree that we should continue that initiative to empower women? and what steps you would take to ensure that the state department and usaid continue to fund necessary programs to address global women's issues?
mr. tillerson: senator, this is an issue that has long been important to me personally as well. i have seen firsthand the impact of empowering women, particularly women's participation in economic activities in the lesser developed part of the world. i know this is an important area to you. we talked about it in your office. there is study after study to confirm that when you empower women in these development parts of the world, you change the future of the country. you change the cycle within that family. whether that woman has daughters
or sons. when you empower a woman and they see you participating in an economic level, it changes the way that they view those things. i have seen specific examples in papua new guinea, which allowed women to participate by forming a coalition of bread bakers. it takes very little money. what these women need is the wherewithal and structure to guide them about how to conduct a small business. interesting in that example, when the women began to be successful selling their bread in a nearby villages, their next concern was, we've got all this money, we have to hide it all over the place. what do we do? they were introduced to banking. they were assisted with opening a bank account in the capital. this is just an example. think of someone that starts with nothing, does not know what i think is, and they have a bank account. it will change the cycle within that area. these are extraordinarily powerful programs. sen. shaheen: i certainly agree with that. does that mean you will commit to continuing those programs if confirmed as secretary of state? mr. tillerson: yes. it is an important part of all of our foreign aid assistance efforts, whether it is usaid or other opportunities in more structured ways. sen. shaheen: thank you. under your leadership in 2012, exxon mobil developed a roadmap for promoting women's economic empowerment that specifically cited access to family planning and reproductive health services
as a means to improve productivity and earning potential for women. you and i also served in 2010 on the center for strategic and international studies on smart local health policy, which also advocated for expanded access to family planning services. will you pledged to continue to prioritize quality family planning and reproductive health services for women worldwide, and ensure that resources and access to these programs are not conflated with support for abortion? mr. tillerson: senator, there
are statutory requirements in place around the foreign aid. they are well known to yourself. and myself as well. we currently invest around half $1 billion per year in programs directed in family planning through foreign assistance. i think that is an important level of support. sen. shaheen: so, do i take that as a yes? mr. tillerson: i would want to, if confirmed, and have opportunities to enlist the program. -- to analyse the program. sen. shaheen: of the millions of women worldwide with unmet planning needs, access to modern medicine" exception, we would see 52 fewer million unwanted pregnancies. resulting in 6000 fewer -- 50 million fewer unsafe abortions -- 15 million fewer unsafe abortions. i would attest this is not only a humanitarian value, but an economic one. i and almost out of time. i want to go back to russia. you talked about the potential tort them. one success has been the new start treaty in 2010, which this committee and the senate supported, which ensures that russians have to reduce their nuclear warheads and delivery
vehicles. it has given us more access to on-site inspections. do you believe continuing to support those efforts is important for us? mr. tillerson: yes, senator. this news and area where we have to stay engaged with russia and hold them accountable. and also ensure that we are in a position to meet our accountability as well. sen. flake: thank you for your testimony, and thank you for your willingnesst o serve. it is a difficult thing to put you through. i wanted to know how much we appreciate that. in your opening testimony you talked about the war on isis,
that it will take a while. that is the implication that i get from what you wrote. i think that is certainly true. in congress, we rarely declare war these days, but we do authorize the use of military force. we have not passed one yet with regards to license. -- regards to isis. we are working under an ill fitting 2001 aomf with regards to al qaeda in afghanistan. senator kaine and i have offered a bipartisan aomf to deal with isis. we think it certainly helps to have congressional buy-in. our allies deserve to know where we are, and our adversaries need to know. what are your thoughts regarding an aomf regarding isis? mr. tillerson: i think the president-elect indicated in his campaign and in other instances that he believes it is important that we not just likely go into these conflicts.
he would you seek the engagement of congress and support of congress in some means, whether sense of the congress, or specific legislation. i would not disagree with your characterization. it is much more powerful when the u.s. shows up with everyone aligned. having support of the congress stepping behind those decisions to commit u.s. men and women enter military resources does give us a much stronger position into engagement with allies and building those alliances. in the case of defeating isis, that will be one of the first. actions necessary
to reengage with our allies, and make sure they know what they are willing to commit as well. yes, i would strongly support engaging at a minimum with this committee. ultimately, if legislative action would support the defeat of isis, i would talk to the president about that. sen. flake: that would be welcomed here. what i would not like to see his what we saw after the promise, the drawing of the rent line. when you draw a red line, we send weak or mixed signals that turn into green lights. what happened in the last administration is that that red line was drawn. rather than enforce it when it was crossed, the administration came to congress to ask permission. we always enjoy the administration coming to us. but when you draw a red line, enforce it. the war powers act allows 60
days. that kind of collaboration with congress is using most as a crutch rather than an ally in this battle. mr. tillerson: i take the point. sen. flake: with regard to cuba, you mentioned their leaders under the new arrangement, with diplomatic relations and lucent travel, their leaders received much, well there people have received little. this serves neither the interest of cubans or americans. i would encourage you in the coming weeks and months to look at what is happened in cuba. certainly i think the government is no lesser repressive to dissidents. that is still going on. when president obama allowed cuban-americans to travel unfettered to cuba and lifted
caps on remittances, it allowed cubans that previously worked for the government to cuba to engage in private sector activity. from virtually no private sector employment in cuba, we have gone to about 25% of the cuban workforce in the private sector. i would submit that they enjoy a measure of economic freedom and political freedom that they didn't before. i think that has benefited the cuban people, and will continue to if we continue the approach we have taken. i do share your version to sanctions, regularly those that are not multilateral. we have seen that in spades in cuba over the years. it is only the u.s. who have employed sanctions. sanctions that were not comprehensive and did not mean that much, other than the regime giving an excuse for the failure of socialism.
i would ask for help with cuba in regards to our policy. with regard to africa, u.s. exxon mobil have filled with africa a lot. let's talk soft diplomacy for a while. we have problems -- programs with usaid all over the country. in addition to what exxon mobil has done in corporate governments, what works and what doesn't? how can we refashion some of our policies to nudge democracies that need nudging, or getting cooperation on security and humanitarian measures? mr. tillerson: certainly the important use of usaid assistance follows in two broad
areas, disaster relief, addressing imminent situations on the ground, whether it is starvation or the result of storms or conflict, and providing assistance to relief the immediate suffering. that is an important part of usaid. over the past few years, looking at the balance of that versus development assistance, which is designed to create change, which hopefully becomes a sustainable change. regrettably the disaster assistance part of that budget has grown. other important ways in which we can provide assistance or through other mechanisms, such as the millennial challenge corporation, for those that qualify, that is a different model.
in terms of the issue we are trying to address, that can distance how we put obligations on the country to modify behaviors, whether it is taking steps to reduce corruption, improve strength of governments and their own institutional capacity to manage their affairs. where i have seen good progress is when assistance was put into the country with some requirement that they modify or streamline their process. one of the ways to reduce corruption is to remove the complexities of how people carry out their activities. the more steps you have in the process, the more time they have to take steps out or add costs to it. i have seen examples where governments have been required to simplify a citizen getting a drivers license, or a citizen getting an automobile or piece of equipment.
it only goes to one place, and you can shine a bright light on that. it is easy to follow the money in that way. that can change the behaviors in some of these developing countries. where we can tie our assistance to obligations, it is important that we do so and follow up. i think it is every country's issue that needs to be examined on a case by case basis. then target assistance toward america's values, and continue its journey along better governance. in some cases, it was disaster relief.
>> talk about pepfar, and can you talk about how that has helped our situation and what you have observed in africa? >> well, it is one of the most extraordinarily successful programs in africa. i saw it up close and personal, because of exxonmobil had taken on the challenge of eradicating malaria because of the activities in central africa where malaria is quite prevalent and working with the ngos and some receiving funding through pepfar and other agencies and other public for private part -- partnerships and so eradicating malaria, and great deal of progress made, and that is where i saw it up close and personal, and i know that pepfar has broadly brought so much goodwill from africa, recognition of the goodwill and the compassionate nature of the
american people is one of the best projections of the american goodwill and compassion into the continent that i think that you will ever find, and it is broadly recognized by the leader and more importantly, recognized by those who it touches. >> senator udall. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, and you and the ranking member to work so carefully with us to get this organized in such a good, good fashion. mr. tillerson, let me first of all, thank you so much for your visit to our office, and to be able to exchange ideas and discussing where you want to a approach things as the incoming secretary of state, if you rare -- if you are approved. i want to thank so much your family for being here. it is always wonderful to see family, and brenda and brothers
and sisters, and so, it is a good, a very good start i believe. you know, i believe that exxon has done and continues to do business in the various countries in the world that are are problematic to the u.s., and you have mentioned it a little bit here, and in some of the cases, some of the countries are outright hostile. we know that exxon did business in iran, and iran's regime has supported terrorist attacks against americans. exxon has a massive oil interest in russia which is recently acted to undermine our e -- elections in civil society. and of course, exxon also has a history of major political contributions, and large washington lobbyist presence. would you permit exxon to lobby the state department under your
leadership? >> well, senator, as to any issues involving exxonmobil that might come before me ifp -- if confirmed as secretary of state, i would recuse myself from those issues. >> and would you take phone calls from the new ceo about foreign matters or any interests that they had around the world that are within jurisdiction of the state department? >> i would not extend to the new chairman and ceo of exxonmobil any courtesies beyond that which i would extend to anyone. >> so, are you saying that you would take calls and visit with the ceo? i mean, i am trying to understand -- >> well, it would be -- >> what kind of limits you are going to put on yourself in
terms of the dealing with the company and employees. i know that you are, and it made a clean break, and in terms of the ethics agreements and things like that, and give us an understanding of the policy that you are going to follow if you are are approved with how you are going to the deal with the situations there. are many countries in the world where you know that to give you an example, australia, new guinea, qatar, and others where exxon is aing fothe x dollars back from those, and if you are carrying out foreign policy in those countries, how are you going to be dealing with that situation in terms of the contact with exxon, with your former colleagues that kind of situation. >> well, let me start with where you began in terms of taking phone calls. i would not expect that i will be taking phone calls from any
business leaders. in my prior role, i never called on the secretary of state directly. i called on the deputy often or the missions, primarily the ambassadors. so i, you know, whether i will take phone calls from anyone is a subject to the question itself. as to how i would deal with the past history that i have in my prior position with exxonmobil, i have made it clear in the disclosures and in answers to questions that have been posed, obvious obviously, there is a statutory recusal period which i will adhere to on any matters that might come before the state department that deal directly and specifically with exxonmobil. beyond that though, we are so much involving the natural gas and industry, and the scope of that is such that i would not expect to have to recuse myself. in any instance where there is any question or the appearance, i would expect to seek the guidance of council from the office of ethics from the state department, and also to follow their guidance as to whether it is an issue that i should recuse myself from. >> thank you very much for that answer. i was very heartened by some of the exchange that we had in my office with regard to climate change. as you know, climate change has
been express ared as a serious national security concern. sea levels rising and threatened navy bases and we have water shortages all over the world, and in my state of new mexico, and other natural disasters that are going to be threatening the stability of many developing kun countries, and during the transition, some departments have been asked to name individuals involved in climate policy who attended the international climate meetings which made many federal employees concerned about a witch hunt against the civil servants involved in climate policy, and would you plan or support any efforts to persecute
sideline or otherwise retaliate against the career state department employees who have worked on climate change in the past? >> no, sir, that is a pretty unhelpful way to get started. >> i like that answer. well you are ceo of exxonmobil, your website say that the risk of climate change is clear. increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. there is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risk which is the end of the quote on the website. i understand that if confirmed, you will be serving under president-elect trump, but do you personally stand by this statement today, yes or no? >> i do not take exception to that statement. i might articulate it a little bit differently as to my personal views. the president-elect has invited my views on climate change, and he has asked for them, and he knows that i am on the public record with my views.
and i look forward to providing those if confirmed to him, and in discussion around how the u.s. should conduct its policies in this area. ultimately, the president-elect, and he was elected andly carry out the policies, and in order to be a successful as possible, but i think it is important to note that he has asked, and i feel free to express those views. >> thank you. during our meeting you expressed support for a carbon tax as one measure to address climate change, and will you continue to work with the congress on this complex issue, and make it a priority in the state ep department -- in the state department if you are confirmed. >> when it comes to tax policy, that is to other agencies to conduct. my role at state is to only deal
with the issues that are relevant to treaties or international according that we have entered into in terms of the continued compliance with those participation in those, and so that would be the area i would be most engaged in. >> and my understanding in the discussion in the office and i think you said that you are going to talk about this publicly if you were asked questions, and you came to the carbon tax conclusion doing a thorough analysis of everything out there, and whatever was trying to bring down carbon emissions, you looked at everything, and then you concluded the best recommendation was to move or work with a carbon tax. is that correct?
>> the analysis i went through, which was largely informed by a number of economic studies by academic institutions was during the time that congress was debating the cap and trade approach. in my view, that had not produced the result that everyone wanted in europe. we have a working model in europe we had been watching. exxon mobil had been participating in that model. the debate around cap and trade being the option versus something else is what stimulated the question for me of if this is not working, what might? that began the investigation of other alternatives. one of the important elements of
even considering something like that as a solution is to other aspects. one is it replaces the hodgepodge on the hodgepodge on approaches we have today which are scattered and some of which are through mandates. ineffective incentives. let's simplify the system. this is the one and only effort we are going to undertake to try to influence people's choices. the second qualifier i have always placed on it is revenues if a carbon tax pays. it has to be revenue neutral. all the revenues go back into the economy through reduced employee payroll taxes. there will be impacts on job. let's mitigate that by reducing the impact by putting it back into the economy. this is simply a mechanism to incentivize choices people are making.
not a revenue raiser. thank you very much mr. tillerson. >> if i could, senator udall did an excellent job of teasing this out, and one thing that is not stated though, and would you successfully state your personal position as it relates to climate change. >> i came to my personal position over about 20 years as an engineer and scientist, and understanding the evolution of the science. and came to the conclusion a few years ago the risk of climate change does exist, and that the consequences of it could be serious enough that action should be taken, and the type of action it seems to be where the largest areas of debate exist in the public discourse, and i think that it is important to recognize that the u.s. has done a pretty good job. >> this is not as succinct as i was hoping. it is my understanding --
>> i think that we should let him finish. >> do you believe that human activity based on your belief in science is contributing to climate change? >> the increase in the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect. our ability to predict that effect is very limited. >> senator gardner. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you mr. tillerson, por your service or -- for your service or hopeful service to the country and to your family, thank you as well for your commitment, because if confirmed, it is a sacrifice for you as well, and so thank you for serving the nation if that is the will of the senate. in your opening statement, you
talk about what i believe is the idea of america, liberty and prosperity and that we live in a nation that is founded on liberty, and maintaining the liberty through security and growing with the prosperity of the american people, and so whether it is the industrial revolution for the civil ar war or the world war i or the depression or the time period afterward, and not a year or two or three in time, but a generational if not more definition and changing lives impacting our children, and the moment that we are in today, and the changes that we have seen around the globe, and the changes in technology, and instability will greatly impact the lives of our children, and my children and your children, and so i believe that engagement with the world matters and that u.s. engagement matters greatly and you would agree with that assessment? >> yes sir, i would. >> and this is not the time for the world to shrink from the
engagement, is that correct some desk correct? >> yes, senator. in our opening remarks that is what is absent. >> and western matters that build upon the international norms to make the country great, the ideas of prosperity and security. >> and we are the only country able to project that with authority. >> one thing that we find so interesting about the committee and the work we do is the opportunity to lead around the world with diplomacy, and the will of the people to lead this country and not just defense, but would you agree with that? >> yes, sir. >> and that we will use force when necessary and not back a -- away from the obligation to use force where necessary,
correct? >> yes. i know that everyone understands that it is the least attractive option. >> and that we should leave no doubt in the minds of the alliances, and the willingness and the commitment of the united states to both use diplomacy and force where necessary to achieve the goals of the alliance. >> diplomacy is ineffective if it is not backed up by the threat of force. >> and mr. tillerson, north korea has developed a series of nuclear capabilities ta that does that pose a significant threat to the united states and trying to develop the capabilities, and to the allies in the region.
and in the last congress, senator senator menendez and i worked on a bill and it was signed to address this administration's failed pollicy of sanctions. the first sanction mandated sanctions of those who are resisted the pyongyang human rights violation, and the cyber efforts. if you are confirmed, do you plan to fulfill all of the mandatory requirements of this sanctions act? >> yes, i would, senator. and that is the issue u in north -- in north korea is that we have failed to enforce existing sanctions on re regime, and including that which is overseen by the united nations. >> i want to get into that more, and your plan as it relates to the north korea, and our actions toward north korea depend on north korea and japan, and the that south korea and japan and our relationship with the two nations, and how do we bolster those relationships between south korea and japan? >> it starts with our friends and allies, and ensuring that we are completely aligned at our commitment to enforce the sanctions. >> and the alliance that we have with south korea is going to be strengthened under president-elect trump's administration. is that correct? >> that would be my expectation, yes sir. >> one of the keys to success of denuclearization is china. are you willing to exert more pressure on north korea through china including u.n. security, and u.n. security resolutions, and pushing china to do more to enforce these resolutions as it relates to north korea. >> as indicated a lot of the
troubles today are that we do not enforce, and we make commitments and say that we will do something, and then we don't enforce it and that is again a mixed message that has been sent in a case of north korea, and the expectations of china. and i think that we have to be clear-eyed as to how far china will go, and not get overly optimistic as to how far they will go. and that is why ultimately, it is going to require a new approach with china in order for china to understand our expectations of them going beyond certainly what they you that's what they have in the past, which is falling short. >> you are looking at the north korean economy, most of it relies on china, and china has not been willing to comply with the activities that are otherwise subject to sanction, and would you support secondary sanctions against chinese areas that have interfered. >> well, 90% of the north korean economy depends on china. and so the purchase of coal which is specifically mentioned, and if there are gaps of enforcement, they have to be enforced and if china is not going to comply with the u.n. sanctions, then it is appropriate for the united states to consider actions to compel them to comply. >> and how do you intend to lead
u.s. in multi national multi literal efforts to disarm pyongyang? >> it is a long-term plan, and it starts with again a designing the sanctions and enforcing the sanctions to close gaps that exist, and you have already highlighted that there are gaps in those sanctions today that are undermining the effectiveness. so it is a question of closing those gaps where it is appropriate to seek further steps against those who are not fully complying with the sanctions, and revisiting other ways to, and other areas to close off access by north korea to resources that allow them to continue to develop the nuclear capabilities. it is looking at all of that approach as to what is still there, and what can we put it, and how can we put additional pressure on them to deny them the capability to continue to advance and not just the development, but the delivery systems which is where the greatest threat is today. >> this is the first time that the committee added sibcyber security to the jurisdiction and i chaired the subcommittee on the east earn asia and cyber policies, and during that hearing we mandated that the
state department produce a long overdue policy on the outgoing administration's international cyber policies. and that bill builds mandatory cyber sanctions, the first time that any legislation has done. so and i have supported it and supported the idea of a stand alone committee on cyber committee, and so we have ale whole government view to mow how -- how to address our cyber policies from the standpoint of the commercial sector the standpoint of national security needs. how will you prioritize cyber security at the state department? >> if confirmed, as i indicated the imminent threat is isis. i highlighted that in my remarks. the most complex remark -- complex threat is in cyber security.
the u.s. has significant capabilities of its own. we are extraordinarily vulnerable. in part because we have not maintained our own i.t. structure. we do not have the structures to protect not just government sites and information, but important infrastructure and in some cases important private sector from attack as well. it is important that we put in place once and for all a comprehensive strategy for dealing with security and cyber threats that includes what are appropriate norms for behavior. appropriate use for cyber information, and what is -- what would be a acceptable response when nations filing those norms. no one is doing it. this is an area that will require a lot of interagency engagement from commerce to the defense department to the
intelligence community of how to reconstruct construct a thoughtful approach to cyber security at a thoughtful approach to what are going to be the norms. then we engage with our friends and allies first and we establish with those norms are going to be and bill that the international support for those so that when these attacks happen, we are not struggling with what is an appropriate spots -- response and how far should we go? it is a complicated issue. it has a lot of aspects to it that have to be carefully considered. we cannot delay beginning to develop this comprehensive approach. >> do you believe cyber policy should be elevated within the state to an ambassadorial position? >> that could be out come of the assessment of what is right for
the u.s. to manage the threat and be prepared to respond when others take action. >> you have shown extreme stamina for a 63-year-old male and ready ways. we are going to have a five-minute recess. if you wish to exit the room, i would suggest you coming this way. we will resume with senator kaine five minutes. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]