tv Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson Testifies at Confirmation Hearing CSPAN January 11, 2017 8:21pm-8:36pm EST
>> coming up tonight on c-span, donald trump holds his first news conference since being elected president. and former exxon ceo rex secretary of state nominee is before the foreign relations committee today. we have a donald trump news conference coming up in just a bit here on c-span. we do want to show you some of the several hearings we covered across the c-span networks on capitol hill and across the nation, including the hearing with text -- rex tillerson. came out of the hearing saying he is uncertain to have his support for the nomination of rex tillerson. back and forth, including this exchange on russian hacking. sen. rubio: >> welcome, mr. tillerson.
do you believe during the 2016 directed active measures involving the hacking of emails and strategic leaks of these emails, the use of email goal ofm a and with the denigrating a presidential candidate and undermining faith in our election process? , i have had no unclassified briefings. however, i did read the agency report released on january 6. that report clearly is troubling and indicates all the actions you described that 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 the vladimir putin? >> i am not in a position to make that determination. that is indicated in the report. but i know there is additional classified information i do not have access to. >> you have business activities in russia, so i am sure you are
aware very few things happen in that country without vladimir putin's permission. based on your views of russian government and your views, is a something like this, could it have happened with vladimir putin not knowing about it? and authorizing it? >> i think that is a fair assumption. bill congress passed a involving sanctions on those who engage in significant activities undermining cyber security of private or public infrastructure and democratic institutions in the united states, would you advise the president to sign it? >> i would certainly want to examine it all the corners. people who sanction were involved in cyber attacks against the united states for interfering in our election. cyber attacksof is a broad issue coming from many corners of the world. this most recent manifestation, , think the new threat posed
this is a tool that introduces another element of the threat, cyber attacks are occurring from many nations. if they come from belgium or france, if someone is conducting cyber attacks against the united states and we pass a imposes sanctions as mandatory, would you advise the president to sign it? mr. tillerson: that second element leads the executive ranch no latitude or flexibility a broad array of cyber threats. i think it is important that those be dealt with on a country by country basis. other elements into consideration and the relationship. giving the executive the tool is one thing. useiring the executive to it without any other considerations, i would have concerns about. understand, if you said it was mandatory you would
not advise him to sign it because you want the president to have the flexibility to decide which countries to sanction and which to not sanction? mr. tillerson: under which circumstances do you sanction? sen. rubio: because you want to take other things into account, like the desire to improve relations with that country and therefore, the president may be does not want to sanction them even if they are attacking us? mr. tillerson: there could be a whole array of considerations, such as trading issues, trade relation issues. mutual agreements around our national security. appropriatenk it is for me at this time to indicate that i would say it is a blanket application. role of the is the executive branch and 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. sen. rubio: what is troubling about your answer is the
implication that somehow if there is a country that we are trying to improve relations with and have significant economic ties with, you may advise the president not to impose sanctions on that country out of concern it could damage the rest of our relationship with them. a cyber attack is a direct attack on our security and electoral process. would you advise him to repeal the recent executive orders regarding cyber interference in the elections? mr. tillerson: if confirmed, i .ould support what is 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 policy on this rapidly emerging threat.
we are seeing it manifest itself in ways we never envisioned. sen. rubio: i understand the cyber security plan. we have to have one that protects ourselves and handles cyber attacks against our country. , whether thosee who have conducted attacks should be singled out and singled out. executive order right now that sanctions those individuals. do you believe that 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 other agencies for input on this. if all it says is certain individuals responsible for cyber actions against the united states will be sanctioned, and you need to examine whether that is a good idea or not, is that correct? mr. tillerson: yes, sir. sen. rubio: let me ask you this question, is vladimir putin a war criminal? mr. tillerson: i would not use
that term. sen. rubio: let me describe the situation and aleppo to help you reach that conclusion. conducted a devastating campaign at schools, markets, and of military has targeted schools, markets, and other civilian infrastructure. it has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. it is not the first time mr. putin has been involved in campaigns of this time. back when he was appointed prime minister, i am sure you are aware of that time, there was a series of bombings and a blanket on the chechnya. mr. putin said he would punish them by bombing their capital. they had hospitals, outdoor markets act with shoppers, 137 people died instantly. they used fuel air explosive bombs, the kind that ignite and burn the air breathed in by people hiding in basements. used cluster ammunition against civilians.
when it was all said and done, an estimated 300,000 civilians were killed and the city was completely destroyed. reportingrom credible , they were part of a black flag operation on part of the ffc. the motivation, putin's approval were 31%. by mid august of that year, at 70% in just three months. based on all this information, what is publicly in the record what happened and aleppo and the russian military, you're still not prepared to say vladimir putin and his military have violated rules of war and 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 a body of record in the public domain. i am sure there is a body of record in the classified domain. in order to deal with the serious question like this. sen. rubio: the acceptable level
is in the public domain? mr. tillerson: before advising the president. sen. rubio: there is so much information about what happened in aleppo. what happened there is clearly documented, there is so much information out there. it should not be hard to say that vladimir putin's military conducted war crimes in america. acceptable for the military to target civilians, which has happened with the russian military. i find it discouraging, your inability to say that. it is globally accepted. in my last minute and a half i want to move quickly to an additional question. i want to enter two things into the record. the first is a partial list of dissidents of the vladimir putin who were suspiciously murdered or died under highly suspicious circumstances. the second is a letter to this by another who was
mysteriously poisoned, another opponent of the putin: regime -- putin regime. do you believe that vladimir putin and his cronies are responsible for ordering the murder of countless dissidents, opponents, and journalists? mr. tillerson: i do not have sufficient information for that claim. sen. rubio: are you aware that those who oppose putin all over the world have been poisoned and shot ahead? do you think it is coincidental or quite likely, that it was an effort to murder his political opponents? mr. tillerson: people who speak up for freedom in regimes that are oppressive are often under threat. and these things happen to them. in terms of citing 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 and sufficient information, which means having access to all information. i am sure there is a large body of information i have never seen in the classified realm. confirmed, to, if becoming fully informed. but i'm not willing to make conclusions on what is only publicly available or publicly reported. sen. rubio: none of this is classified, these people are dead. mr. tillerson: your question was, people who are directly responsible for that. i am not disputing these people are dead. >> to update you, we will show you that hearing tonight. that senate foreign relations hearing on the confirmation of rex tillerson at 9:45 eastern, or so. the number two in the senate judiciary committee. jeff sessions, senator from alabama was before the committee yesterday for 10 hours. but not today. today was devoted to both those in favor and those opposed to
the nomination of jeff sessions. one of those opposed to the nomination, the president of the naacp. here is a look. candidacy has's achieved expressions of support and people like david duke from what is described as a white supremacist neo-nazi website that said his appointment was like christmas. nominee forault a the people who choose to be enthusiastic about his candidacy. this is not, obviously, senator sessions' fault. but do you think he has distinguished himself away from whatever other causes from that supports that you feel comfortable going forward, that he has addressed that? record, i do not
believe that the senator has sufficiently described the department of justice fully committed to enforcing our highest laws. we have hate crimes rising. most of which is perpetuated not in bars or streets but in k-12 schools. speaking out against hate crimes, making it clear you will to the civil rights laws full measure. i do not believe we have heard that. responsible for who endorses him, but he is in fact responsible for what he endorses. and his vision for the department of justice. >> thank you, chairman. my time has expired. >> mr. brooks, can you give a scorecard to members of congress?
do you know what score was given to senator sessions in the 115th congress? >> the senator has received a low grade, a failing grade for years on end. >> he got 11%. what did i get? >> senator, i would have to consult the school card. >> i got 25%. >> grassley got 11%. got 11%. so you have to be determined. >> another, 14%. kennedy, not rated. what did the democrats get on this committee?