tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC January 11, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PST
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 does not start with ourselves, we cannot credibly extd it to our friends and our adversaries. we must hold ourselves accountable to upholding the promises we make to others. and america, they 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. and we must hold those who are not our friends accountable to the agreements they make.
our failure to do this over the recent decades 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. and it must end. we cannot be accountable, though, if we are not truthful and honest in our dealings. as you are aware, my longstanding involve with the boy scouts of america, one of our bedrock ideals is honesty. indeed the phrase, on my honor, begins the boy scout oath. and it must undergird our foreign policy. in particular, we need to be honest about radical islam. it is with good reason that 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 their 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 simp thets tympathetic to their. they must face consequences for aiding and abetting what can only be called evil. the most urgent step in thwarting rad kagus lam is defeating isis. they pose many challengeshich 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 utmost 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 will 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 will also allow us to increaser attention on other agencies of radical islam like al qaeda, 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 have not 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 pursuit of its own goals which at times has put it at confluct with american interest. 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 our two nations is deeply intertwined. china has been a valuable ally in curtailing certain elements of radical islam. we should not let disagreements over oth issues exclude areas for productive partnership. we must also be clear about our
relationship with russia. russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interest. it has invaded the, crane, 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 was in the absence of american leadership that this door was left open and unincontinue euni unintended signals were sent. we backtracked on commitments we made to ally. 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 an uneven and at times contentious history between our two nations. but 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
baseod 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 maintaining the interest 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 foreign 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 policy. and we must adhere to standards of accountability. our recent engagements with the government of cuba was not accompanied by any significant concessions on human rights. we have accountable for their conduct. their leaders received much while their people received little. that serves neither the interest of cubans nor americans. abraham lincoln declared that mrk is the last best hope of earth. our moral light must not go out if we are to remain an agent of freedom for mankind. supporting human rights in our foe foreign policy say key component of clarifying to a watching world what america stands for. in closing, let us also be proud about the ideals that define us and the liberties we have secured at great cost. the ingenuity, 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 that we stand on the shoulders of those who have sacrificed much and in some cases everything. they include our fallen heros in uniform, our foreign service officers and other americans in the field who, likewise, gave all for their country. if confirmed, in my work for the president, the american people, i will seek to ingender trust and put together agreements that will serve the purposes and interests of american foreign policy. the secretary of state works for the president. and seeks to implement his foreign policy objectives. to do tharkt, i must work close with my cabinet colleagues and agencies of the administration to build consensus. but that may also stress that keeping the president's trust means keeping the public trust.
and keeping the public trust means keepi ining faith with th elected representatives. i want all the members of this 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'm an engineer by training. i seeko understand the fact 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 pathways to new 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'll 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. >> thank you very much for your testimony. do you commit to appear and testify upon request from this committee? >> y ses, sir. >> i know the committee members rarely give opening statements, certainly not expansive ones like i gave. in order to move this along, i'm going to reserve my time for interjections and move to the ranking member, senator cardin, and then to senator rubio. >> once again, mr. tillerson, thank you. 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? >> without question, senator. >> and do you also agree that russia under mr. putin's leadership fails in that category? >> yes, sir. >> so what we try to do, in
order to provide national/international leadership is to put a face on an issue. thousands of people in russia have been harmed or killed as a result of mr. putin's leadership. and millions have been impacted by that. there's one person who lost his life in a courageous way, serge mcnivsky. he found corruption, did what any lawyer is supposed to do, reported it to the authorities. as a result, he was arrested, tortured and killed. and those who benefited from the corruption were held with no accountability whatsoever. through u.s. leadership, we brought that case to the international forum. with congress that's 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? >> yes, sir, i do. >> thank you for that because under the obama administration, there have been 39 individuals who have been individually sanctioned under themacniti law and five others recently addod monday. that law provides for congress 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 the law? >> senator, i will ensure that the -- if confirmed, myself and the state department does comply with that law. >> and this year, under the national defense authorization act, that was extended globally. it now applies to human rights
violations in -- throughout the world. do you also commit to support the global macnitski law using the tools of our visa restrictions to prevent human rights violators from coming to america? >> senator, again, consistent with all applicable laws that might impact immigration, we'll endeavor to comply with that, yes. >> the law allowed secretary of state to -- visas are privileges to come to america. there is no due process issue on issuing a visa. this is a privilege to be able to come to a country. so we have -- there's no -- i'm not aware of any restrictions on your ability to withdraw the right of someone to come to america. there may be -- other than through treaties we have diplomats come in, which is exempted from that provision. >> i understand, senator. that was what i incontinue tend.
a full examination would be made of any and all applicable laws or other policies, but then we would follow those and implement. >> you tensioned in your statement about the invasion by russia of crimea. does russia have a -- in your view, a legal claim to crimea? >> no, sir. that was a taking of territory that was not theirs. >> and do you agree that russia has not complied with the minsk agreement in regard to the resolution of ukraine? >> the process for implementing the minsk agreement, as i understand it, continues. and, a full completion of all the minsk accords has not yet been achieved. >> so i want to getour view on the sanctions that the united states applied. and maybe i'll drill down, if i might, by asking you this first questi question. you stated in your statement that part of the reasons 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 be have been done to prevent russia from doing what it did? >> well, senator, 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. so i think the real question was the response to the taking of crimea that then led to subsequent actions by russia which i mentioned. the next action being coming across the border of ukraine with both military assets and men. that was the next illegal action. i think the absence of a very firm and forceful response to the taking of crimea was judged by the leadership in russia as a weak response, and, therefore -- >> so 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? >> i would have recommended tt the ukraine take all its military assets it had available. put them on that 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 that border to monitor any movements. >> so your recommendation would have been to do a more robust supply of military? >> yes, sir. what -- i think what russian leadership would have understood is a powerful response that indicated a, yes, you took the crimea, but this stops right here. >> so as i understand, our nato
partners, particularly in the baltics and poland are concerned about russian aggression. nato has deployed troops in this region in order to show russia that article v means something. i take it you support that type of action? >> yes, i do. that is the type of response that russia expects. if russia acts with force, taking of crimea was an act of force. they didn't just volunteer themselves. so they required a proportional show of force to indicate to russia that there will be no more taking of territory. >> that's encouraging to me to hear you say that. it's not exactly consistent with what there trump has been saying in regards to article v commitments under nato by the united states. so i appreciate your commitment or your views on that issue. so 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 toeturopeo act. the united states, in my view, wanted to go even further, but we couldn't get europe to go beyond what they were willing to do. you agree or disagree with that strategy for the united states to lead by showing sanctions as we did? >> senator, sanctions are a powerful tool and an important tool in terms of deterring additional action once actors have acted. then we want to deter any further action on their part. yes, american leadership is oftentimes if not almost always required to demonstrate that first step. as you understand, unless we move, and we have to move in strong position, we're going to be the best. we're going to get the strongest reaction on sanctions from the united states. we saw that in iran and i know that some of us have mentioned to you the legislation was
followed yesterday. i don't know if you've had a chance yet to respond to it or not. i might do that for questions for the record. but we have legislation i would urge you to take a look at that seems consistent with what you're seeing here that would provide the administration, the administration with the tools to show russia that you attack us by cyber or you continue to do what you're doing in ukraine, or what you're doing in georgia, that there's going to be an economic price you're going to pay. i take it you believehat's a powerful tool and one that you wod consider applying. >> senator, i have not had the opportunity to review the legislation. i'm aware it has been introduced. and, yes, i think in carrying out the state department, its diplomacy or 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, carry a big stick. even in dip loam aerks it's useful to have a stick that's in your hand so that whether you use it or not becomes part of that conversation. >> let me ask one final question. i was meet with mr. pruitt yesterday and asked him about his view of global leadership on climate issues. he said you should have that question to the secretary of state nominee. so automati'm going to ask it t. we were in -- part of c.o.p. 21. do you agree that the united states should continue in international leadership on climate change issues with the international community? >> i think it's 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 is going to solve this alone. >> thank you. >> senator rubio? >> welcome, mr. tillerson. do you believe during the 2016
election campaign russian intelligence officials conducted a campaign involving the hacking of e-mails, the leak of these e-mails, use of internet trolls and dissemination of fake news to undermine our election process? >> senator, i have had no unclassified briefings because i've not received my clearance yet, however, i did read the interagency report that was released on january the 6th. that report clearly is troubling and indicates that all of the actions you just described were undertaken. >> based on your knowledge of russian leaders and russian politics, do you believe these activities could have happened without the knowledge and consent of vladimir putin? >> i am not in a position to be able to make that determination. ago again, that's indicated in the report but there's additional classified information that might -- >> mr. tillerson, you've engaged in significant business activities in russia. i'm sure you're aware very few
things of a major proportion happen in that country without vladimir putin's knowledge. is it possible for something like this involving the united states elections to have happened without vladimir putin knowing about it and authorizing it? >> i think that's a fair assumption. >> that he would have? >> yes. >> if congress passed a bill imposing mandatory visa bands and asset freeze sanctions on persons who engage in significant activities undermining the cybersecurity of public or private infrastructure n democratic institutions in the united states, would you advise the president to sign it? >> i would certainly want to examine all the corners, all four cornersf th. >> those are the four corners. we'd sanction people who are involved in cyberattacks against the united states and interfering in our elections. >> the threat of cyberattacks is a broad issue. those are coming from many, 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 cyberattacks are occurring from many nations. >> so no matter where they come from. if they come from belgium or france, if someone is conducting cyberattacks against the united states and we pass a law that authorizes the president to sanction them or actually imposes these sanctions as mandatory, would you advise the president to sign it? >> i think it is that second element that you just described that leaves the executive branch no latitudes or flexibility in dealing with the broad array of cyberthreats. i think it is important those be dealt with on a country by country basis and taking all other elements into consideration in the relationship. giving the executive the tool is one thing. requiring the executive to use it without any other considerations, i would have concerns about. >> so i understand your testimony, you are saying it was mandatory, you would not be able to 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? >> under which circumstances to sanction. >> in essence because you want to be able to take other things into account like the desire to perhaps improve relations with that country and, therefore, the president maybe doesn't want to sanction them even though they are attacking us? >> 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 that 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 state department to assist and inform the president in judgments about how to use what is a clearly powerful tool. >> again, what's troubling about
your answer is the implication that somehow if there is some country that we're trying to improve relations with or have significant economic ties with, the president, you may advise the president not to impose sanctions on that country on individuals in that country out of concern that it could damage our -- the rest of our relationship with them on a cyberattack, which is a direct attack on our national security and our electoral process. would you advise the president-elect to repeal the obama administration's recent executive orders regarding cybersecurity and russian interference in the 2016 elections? >> i think the president-elect has indicated, and if confirmed, i would support. what's really required is a comprehensive assessment of our cyberthreat, cybersecurity policies. in my view, based on what i've been able to read and have been briefed, we do not have a cybersecurity policy. we do not have a comprehensive strategy around how to deal with what has been a rapidly emerging
threat. we're seeing it manifest itself in ways that we never envisioned. >> mr. tillerson, i understand the cybersecurity plan. we have to have one to protect ourselves and handle cyberattacks against our country. that is separate from the question of whether people that have already conducted attacks should be sanctioned and singled out. there's an executive order that's now active that has sanctioned those individuals and my question is, do you believe that executive order should be repealed by the incoming president? >> if confirmed, senator, i would want to examine it and all aspects of it not only in consult with the president but other agencies that will have input on this as to their views. >> and mr. tillerson, if all the executive order says is that certain individuals responsible for cyberactions against the united states will be sanctioned and you still need to examine whether that's a good idea or not? is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> okay. let me ask you this question. is vladimir putin a war criminal? >> i would not use that term.
>> well, let me describe the situation in aleppo and perhaps that will help you reach that conclusion. in aleppo, mr. putin has directed his military to conduct a devastating campaign. he's targeted schools, markets. not just assisted the syrians. they've targeted schools, markets and civilian infrastructure. it's resulted in the death of thousands of civilians. this is not the first time mr. putin is involved in campaigns of this kind. back when he was just appointed prime minister before he was elected. i'm sure you're aware of that period of time, there was a series of bombings. and they blamed it on the chechens. and mr. putin personally said he'd punish them. he ordered the air force to bomb the chechen capital of grazni. they used scud missiles to hit the main outdoor market packed with shoppers. 137 people died instantly. they used air explosive bombs that ignite and burn the air breathed in by people who are hiding in basements. they used cluster munitions. battlefield weapons gans civilians.
when it was all said and done, an estimated 300,000 civilians were killed. and the city was completely destroyed. by the way, there's credible body of reporting open source and other, that this was all -- all those bombings were part of a black flag operation on the part of the fsb and, if you want to know the motivation. putin's approval ratings before the attacks were at 31%. by mid-august of that year, it was at 78% in just three months. so baseod all this information and what's publicly in the record about what's happened in aleppo and the russian military, you are still not prepared to say that vladimir putin and his military have violated the rules of war and have conducted war crimes in aleppo? >> those are very, very serious charges to make. and i would want to have much more information before reaching a conclusion. i understand there is aody of record in the public domain. i'm sure there's a body of record in the classified domain. and i think in order to deal with a serious question like this --
>> mr. tillerson, the attack in aleppo is in the public domain. pictures and video of there. >> ooi'd want to be fully informed -- >> there's so much information out there about what happened in aleppo. it's clearly documented. there's so much information out there. it should not be hard to say that vladimir putin's military has conducted war crimes in aleppo because it's never acceptable for a management ili specifically target civilians. n and i find it discouraging your ability to cite that. in my last minute and a half i want to move really quickly to an additional question. i want to enter two things into the record. >> without objection. >> the first is a partial list of political disdents and critics of vladimir putin who were suspiciously murdered or died under suspicion circumstances. the second is a letter addressed to this committee by vladimir
marza who himself was mysteriously poisoned and is an opponent of the putin regime. i'd like to enter that into the record. >> without objection. >> do you believe that vladimir putin and his cronies are responsible for ordering the murder of countless dissidents, journalists and political opponents? >> i do not have sufficient evidence to make that claim. >> are you aware that people who oppose vladimir putin wind up dead all over the world, poisoned, shot in the back of the head and you think that was coincidental or quite possible or likely, as i believe, that they were part of an effort to murder his political opponents? >> people who speak up for freedom and regimes tt are repressive are often a threat and these things happen to them. in terms of assigning specific responsibilities, i would have to have more information. as i indicated, i feel it's important that in advising the
president, if confirmed, that i deal with facts, that deal with sufficient information, which means having access to all information, and i'm sure there's a large body of information that i've 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 is only publicly available or publicly -- >> none of this is classified. these people are dead. political opponents -- >> your question was people who are directly responsible for that. i'm not disputing these people are dead. >> senator menendez. >> thank you, mr. tillerson. congratulations on your nomination. thank you for coming by to meet with me. and i'd like to take at this opportunity to expand upon the conversation we had last week. since you have worked in consector for one company throughout your entire career, getting a sense of your world view is incredibly important since you'll be the chief advocate and adviser to the
president-elect on those issues. so i'd 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 tak a greater, more extensive answer. and you have alluded to some of this in your opening statement. let me go through several of them. do you believe it's in the national interest of the united states to continue to support international laws and norms that were established after world war ii? >> yes, sir. >> do you believe that the international order includes respecting the territorial integrity of sovereign countries and the viability of their borders? >> yes, sir. >> did russia violate this international order when it forcefully annexed crimea and invaded ukraine? >> yes. >> did it violate international laws and norms? >> i'm not sure which specific countries you're referring to. >> the annexation of crimea, the eastern ukraine, georgia, just to mention a few.
>> yes, sir. >> does russia and syria's targeted bombing campaign in aleppo on hospitals, for example, violate this international order. >> yes, that is not acceptable behavior. >> do you believe these actions constitute war crimes? >> again, senator, i am not -- i don't have sufficient information to make that type of a serious conclusion. coming to that conclusion is going to require me to have additional -- >> do you understand what the standard is for a war crime? >> i do. >> and knowing that standard and knowing what is all within the realm of publicinformation, you cannot say whether those consti a war crime or not? >> i would not want to rely solely upon what has been reported in the public realm. i would want confirmation from agencies who would be able to present me with indisputable facts. >> senator menendez, let me -- >> if you won't take my time. >> i'm not taking my time. it will be added back.
if had sufficient evidence in looking at classified information that that had taken place, would that not be a war crime? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. >> for all of these answers you've given me, does the president-elect agree with you? >> the president-elect and i have not had the opportunity to discuss this specific issue or this specific area. >> well, in your statement on page three, you say, in his campaign, president-elect trump opposed a bold new commitment to advancing american interests in our foreign policy. i hope to explain what this approach means and how i'd implement that policy if i am c confirmed as secretary of state of. i assumed to some degree you've had some discussion about what it is that that world view is going to be in order to understand whether you are willing to execute that on behalf of the person you're going to work for? >> in a broad construct and in terms of the principles that are going to guide that, yes, sir. >> i would have thought russia
would be at the very top of that considering all the actions that have taken place. that did not happen? >> that has not occurred yet. >> that's amazing. >> you built a career on exxonmobil that afforded you the opportunity to engage regularly with world leaders, including vladimir putin and russia. in 2013, he awarded you with the order of friendship award and in our conversations you told me you had direct and personal access to the russian president over the course of your tenure there. then in 2014, exxonmobil lobbied aggressively against sanctions on russia after their invasion of ukraine. exxon lobbied against the stability for ukraine act which i introduced in the senate laflt year. you employed lobbyists who support these efforts and 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 these sanctions. sanctions are one of the most
effective diplomatic tools in our arsenal, one we rely on to avoid putting american lives at risk by engaging in traditional kinnetic warfare. now today, in response to a previous question by senator cardin, you said sanctions are a powerful tool. but you have made statements and given speeches where you have said you do not believe sanctions are a useful tool. so if sanctions are not a useful tool, have you changed your view? what are the tools of peaceful diplomacy you will use to get countries to return and act within the international order? what are you going to say to vladimir putin when he says to you, but, rex, you said sanctions were bad? >> senator, i think it's important to acknowledge that when sanctions are imposed, they, by their design, are going to harm american business. that's the idea is to disrupt america's business engagement in whatever country is being targeted for sanctions.
and so broadly -- >> i don't think it's too disrupt american business. it's too disrupt the economies of those countries. now american business may or may not be affected to some degree. >> american business, if america is going to have an influence on disrupting those economies, then the intent behind the sanctions is to disrupt that country's access to american business investment, money flows, technology -- >> financial sectors. >> correct. so by its very -- i'm only stating a fact. i'm not debating it. but the fact is that sanctions, in order to be implemented, do impact american business interest. in protecting america's interest, and i think this is where the president-elect would see the argument as well, is sanctions are a powerful tool. let's design them well. let's target them well, and then let's enforce them fully and to the extent we can, if we can
have other countries join us, or if we are designing sanctions in concert, let's ensure those sanctions apply equally everywhere. >> when you made your remarks, and i have a long list here which i'll introduce for the record, you did not differentiate that way. you basically made the broad case that sanctions are not an effective tool. now i heard your response now, but in your opening statement you said that, quote, america must continue to display a commitment to personal liberty, human dignity, principled action in our foreign policy and we are the only global superpower with the means and moral compass capable of shaping the world for good. i totally agree with you on that respect. but our efforts in leading the international community for example on sanctions against our adversaries like iran and north korea represent exactly that. leadership and a moral compass. it's not about disadvantaging american businesses. it's about putting patriotism
over profit. diplomacy is not the same as deal making. diplomacy requires getting other countries often to do things they may not always want to do, and there isn't necessarily something to trade for it for. this is how we were able to build an extensive and effective sanctions network against iran. through legislation from congress and diplomatic pressure from secretaries of state across different administrations, we were able to build a framework of primary and secondary actions that ultimately cripple du ran' economy. you lobbied against the iran sanctions accountability and divestment act. you were the head of exxonmobil and wanted to eliminate secondary sanctions that would prevent joint ventures. in 2003, in 2004 and 2005, you were engaged through a 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, exxonmobil could not have been dealing with. exxonmobil is listed as a coalition member of usa engage, an advocacy group that lobbies against sanctions. this group also lobbied against sanctions including against iran. so my question is, with that as a history, with the work that you did in the spring of 2011, where you oversaw an exxonmobil deal with the kurdish regional government iraq, after the united states government expressly did not want to see that happen, fearing that a deal would undermine the u.s. policy of one iraq and lead 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 u.s. policies and potential political stability in foreign countries. how are you going to recalibrate your priorities as secretary of state? your shareholders are the american people and their security and their interests. >> well, there's a lot in that question, senator. >> i'll give you the rest of my time. >> first, i have never lobbied against sanctions personally. i continue to -- >> the company you directed did. >> to my knowledge, exxon never directly lobbied against sanctions, not to my knowledge. in terms of all the other actions that were mentioned there, they've been -- they were all undertaken with a great deal of transparency and openness and engagement and input to the process. that's the beauty of the american process is that others are invited to express their view and inform the process. my pivot now, if confirmed to be
secretary of state, will have one mission only. and that's to represent the interest of the american people. and as i've stated multiple times, sanctions are an important and powerful tool. but designing poor sanctions and having poor and ineffective sanctions can have a worse effect than having no sanctions at all. if they convey a week response. so it's important in designing sanctions that, as i've said, if they are carefully crafted, carefully targeted with intended effect and then they can broader participation and the iran sanctions were extraordinarily effective because others joined in. >> senator menendez has played an uncredible role for our nation making sure sanctions are in place and has done -- has led us all if you will, relative to iran. as my first longer interjection --
>> this confuirmation hearing, rex tillerson, we just want to take this brief opportunity to remind you that we are standing by. within the next 30 minutes to go to trump tower in new york. there is the lectern, surrounded by american flags. we are awaiting donald trump's first full-on news conference since july. much earlier this summer, he will take questions from the press corps assembled. and what a day it is to take questions from the press corps. after all, it was last night, coming into this morning, that we were dealt this story about russia being in possession of compromising information on donald trump personally and financially. the story further went that trump and obama were both briefed on russia's -- the
information they were able to glean. and cynthia mcfadden is with us at this table in our studio in new york because she's done further reporting on this story overnight. so where does this stand as far as you have been able to ascertain. >> there was this 35-page so-called dossier. there was a summary, two-page summary, which was amended and added to the preparatory materials used by mr. clapper and others to brief mr. trump last friday. but a couple ever thiof things. first, no written documents were turned over to trump or his team. and second, we're told by sources with direct knowledge that mr. trump was not briefed about these allegations at all. that the reason they were part of the presentation was not because intelligence believed them to be true but rather as context. they wanted to have this available should they feel they needed to explain to mr. trump
more fully the difference between their assessed intelligence the russians tried to manipulate the election and these kinds of spurious, unverified, raw allegations. disinformation is what one of our sources told us. and that there was also information about hillary clinton in this two-page document available to the briefers. mr. clapper and others, should they have decided to use it. also, unverified material, also not considered accurate material, it was available as an example to mr. trump. but we are told that that material was not briefed to the president-elect. >> katy tur is also with us. she's covered the donald trump presidential effort from the start. katy, this is at odds with the story that's been out there for 12 or so hours. >> yeah, and i was asked about cynthia's reporting and whether the campaign had a comment on that. they did not have a comment on
that, but i was not waved off any of your reporting which in journalism speak is a tacit confirmation that they are going to say that they believe it is correct. this is reporting that is obviously beneficial to the trump campaign. the idea that he did not get briefed on this information because orally, they couldn't give it and couldn't hand him a document because there's no top secret secure location for that material in trump tower. so the trump campaign is trying to very forcefully push back on this naturally. they do not want a scenario in which donald trump is tied to the russians in any way or compromised by the russians. they don't want that information being out there. they don't want that cloud over a trump presidency because it does effectively undercut his credibility and undercut his fitness for the office of the white house. so they are going to push back on this. he's very obviously going to be questioned about this at length during this press conference from reporters.
this will likely dominate this press conference, even though initially this newser was supposed to be about his business interests. he's going to be coming out and giving an opening statement. we believe that will be about the -- not necessarily divesting of his business interest but moving them into a trust and detailing what exactly that means. we do not know yet, though, if donald trump is going to address the russia reports directly in that introduction. the campaign or transition saying that they don't know what donald trump is going to say until donald trump says it. >> senator ron johnson of wisconsin has taken over the questioning inside the rex tillerson confirmation hearing. this is all to tell you that we are standing by watching that location in trump tower and we will go immediately to the donald trump news conference when it begins. >> -- in that regard, they are not unpredictable. if you -- if russia does not
receive an adequate response to an action, they will execute the next step of the plan. >> so be a little more specific. summarize that plan that you see they have. >> well, russia, more than anything, wants to re-establish its role in the global world order. they have a view that following the broadcaeakup of the soviet , they were mistreated in some respects in the transition period. they believe they deserve a rightful role in the global world order because they are a nuclear power. and they are searching as to how to establish that. and for most of the past 20-plus years since the demise of the soviet union, they were not in position to assert that. they've spent all those years to develop the capability to prove that and that's what we're witnessing is an acertion on their part in order to force a conversation about what is
russia's role in the global world order. so the steps being taken are simply to make that point that russia is here, matterses and a force to be dealt with. that's a respectable course of action they're taking. the important conversation that we have to have with them is, does russia want to now and forever be an adversary of the united states. do you want this to get worse, or does russia desire a different relationship? we're not likely to ever be friends. i think 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. there is scope to define a different relationship that can bring down the temperature around the conflicts we have today and these, and i think as
secretary gates alluded to and as secretary nunn alluded to in their opening remarks, dialogue is critical so these things do not spin out of control. we need to move russia from being an adversary always to a partner at times and on others issues we'll be adversaries. it's not unlike my comments on china. at times china is friendly and at times an adversary. but with russia, engagement is necessary in order to define what is that relationship going to be, and then we will know how to chart our own plan of action to respond to that. >> in my mind, if i look at the spect rum of our -- america's relationship with different nations, you have friends and allies. you have friendly rivals. you have unfriendly adversaries, enemies. and right now you're putting russia in the unfriendly adversary category? >> well, unfriendly to enemies.
i think at this point, they clearly are in the unfriendly adversary category. i hope they do not move to enemy because that would apply even more direct conflict with one another. >> but you don't hold up much hope we can move them into the friendly rival category, maybe partners where we have mutual interest? >> senator, i tend to think of it in three categories. they are our friends. they're our partners, and they're our adversaries. and at times, our -- certainly 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're just not going to agree. and so we remain adversaries. an adversary at the ideological level is one thing. an adversary at the conflict level, direct conflict level, that's a very different. >> i want to switch subjects a little bit. i agree with former senator nunn when he said your business experience, private sector
background, relationship with putin is actually an asset coming into this position. i come from the private sector. i think that perspective is sorely needed. don't think we have enough people from private sector. i think economic strength is linked to national strength. your background traveling the world, i asked you when we met, i don't know you ever did the calculation. how many different countries have you traveled to? >> i've never actually counted them up. i'd say over 40 -- somewhere between 40 and 50. i've never actually counted them. >> how many countries have you actually done deals with? where you've dealt with top leadership? >> i have never counted those, but it's certainly probably in the -- between 10 and 20 where i was directly engaged in a significant way. >> let me ask you, as somebody from the private sector, being asked to serve your nation, understanding you are going to be going through a process like
this. understanding all the disclosure, leaving life behind that i'm sure you valued. what was your greatest reservation saying yes? >> senator, when i went through all the analysis, all the reasons i had for saying no, which is your question, were all selfish reasons. so i had no reason to say no. >> you, obviously, had responsibilities as the ceo of exxonmobil, fiduciary responsibility. your role is going to change. do you have any reservation, and can you just describe exactly what your mind-set is from making that transition? >> senator, i have no reservations about my clean break with my private sector life. it was a wonderful 41 1/2-year career. i'm 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 is going to dictate that i serve no one's interest but that of the american people in advancing our own national security. >> as you traveled the world, with the business mind-set working at developing projects around the world, obviously you are hearing from people around the world. former president carter in june of 2015 was commenting on president obama's foreign policy. and here's some excerpts of his quotes. he 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 and respect in the world is probably lower now than six or seven years ago. is that your general sense as you've traveled around the world during the last eight years of this administration that our power and influence, prestige, respect is lower? that we have not developed better relationships around the world? >> senator, i think -- i don't
remember if i shared it with you in the meeting we had. but i shared it with others in meetings. in many respects, i've spent the last ten years on an unintended listening tour as i traveled about the world conducting affairs. engaging with the top leadership, heads of state and many of these countries. and i have had the opportunity to listen to them express their frustrations, their fears, their concerns, as to the withdrawal and th stepping back of america's leadership. the lack of that engagement. and they are yearning and they want american leadership reasserted. when i met with the president-elect and we were meeting about his ultimately asking me to do this, i indicated to him, i said, mr. president, we have a tough hand of cards that you've been dealt, but i said there's no use whining about it or complaining or pointing fingers. we're just going to play that hand out. because what i know is america still holds all the aces.
we just need to draw them out of that deck. and that leaders around the world want our engagement. i said you'll be pushing on an open door because people want america to come back. >> one of the reasons i value the private sector experience is your opening statement the number of times you used reality, clarity, moral leadership, moral clair ut, moral lights, facts, use logic, clear priorities. those are the words of a business person. that's why i think your perspective will be very welcome in the state department. thank you, mr. tillerson, and thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, sir. senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. tillerson 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 our interests and values, but also for democracy, for press freedom, for human rights,
for rule of law. you were unwilling to agree with senator rubio's characterization of vladimir putin as a war criminal. and you point out in your statement that russia has disregarded american interests. i would suggest as i think has been brought out in later testimony that it not only has disregarded american interest but international norms and humanitarian interests. the state department has described russia as having an authoritarian political system dominated by president vladimir putin. meanwhile, freedom house currently puts russia in a category of countries like iran with very restricted political rights ruled by one part or military dictatorships religious hierarchies or autoats. do you agree with that characterization of russia and vladimir putin? >> i would have no reason to take exception. >> senator rubio and senator
cardin both talked about some of those people who have been victims of the putin authoritarian regime in russia. and behind me is a poster with a recent "new york times" story. i quote, more of kremlin's opponents are ending up dead. i'd like to ask unanimous consent to enter the article into the record. >> without exception -- objection. >> a picture is always worth a thousand words. when you put a face to serge magnivsky as this poster does and see two other victims of the authoritarian regime in russia, i think it speaks to what's happening there. and how we should think about the country and dealing with president putin. so i understand what senator nunn said -- i mean former
senator nunn and secretary gates said when they talked about the need to have dialogue with russia and to continue a mill to mill relationship, but i also think it's important for us to understand who we're dealing with. in 2008, you notably said that there's no respect for the rule of law in russia today. do you think that continues to be true? >> that is still the case, yes. >> so i think you can probably understand, mr. tillerson, why some of us are very concerned about the president-elect's statements praising vladimir putin's leadership, his intelligence, including after being -- >> senator jeanne shaheen has just started her line of questioning, but as promised, we're authority seconds away from the top of the hour. 11:00 in the east. we have been notified that we're apparently within the two-minute window now of seeing donald trump there at that lectern on that stage. kristen welker is on the
telephone with us from that room. kristen? >> brian, this is president-elect trump's first press conference since the summer. so expect it to be wide ranging. and it's, of course, going to start likely with that explosive new news that we got overnight. word that, according to u.s. intelligence officials, the president-elect and the president were both briefed on information indicating that russia has incriminating evidence against donald trump. the question today, was he, in fact, briefed? does he trust his intelligence official? these are the same intelligence officials who he's been waging a war of words against on twitter. does that not undercut national security. those are just among the top questions that will be asked. and then i anticipate he's going to get a whole host of questions on health care. members of his party calling for repealing and replacing health care but also acknowledging they don't yet have a plan in place. how exact