tv Americas Newsroom With Bill Hemmer and Martha Mac Callum FOX News January 11, 2017 6:00am-8:01am PST
>> i want some of your beads, lady. >> they have the strawberry tea. >> thank you, abby. >> see you back here tomorrow, everybody. >> bill: good morning. what a morning this will be, a significant day for the trump administration. donald trump holds his first news conference since the summer two hours from now that he calls completely unverified reports about russia and potential blackmail. serious allegations that no news organization has been able to confirm yet it's out there and the most controversial pick in his cabinet faces congress this morning. we say hello. it's wednesday and there is a lot going on. i'm bill hemmer. welcome to "america's newsroom." >> martha: i'm martha maccallum this story is rapidly developing today coming ahead of a very important day for the
trump team. the confirmation hearing for rex tillerson. the buzz is palpable. he will sit at that table moments away as he tries to become secretary of state for our country. that's getting underway. he is the exxon-mobile ceo who will undoubtedly face tough questions from both sides about his ties to vladimir putin. >> bill: jeff sessions is the next pick to be attorney general. democratic senator cory booker becoming the first sitting senator to ever testify against a colleague. that will happen today at some point. >> martha: big stuff. at 11:00 a.m. we'll hear from donald trump, the president-elect himself, on this very controversial day. mr. trump will hold his first news conference since winning the election. the last one was 167 days ago
since reporters gave him open question. >> bill: we don't know if he will address the reports about russia but will be asked about it. his team denying all the unsubstantiateed allegations. >> someone in the past that has been source is not even "the new york times" will public and bases the report on the meeting in prague and here we are on the "today" show talking about stupidity. and actually offensive crap. it is all phony baloney garbage. i've read this thing on buzzfeed. there is nothing to it. >> martha: mr. trump tweeting today intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to quote leak into
the public. one last shot at me. are we living in nazi germany he wrote? >> bill: we look at rex t*ilz * -- tillerson in the room. buzzfeed put this out last night. the editor said this, ben smith. as we noted in our story, there is serious reason to doubt allegations. that was part of what he said. then he went on to say the following. publishing this document was not an easy or simple call and people of goodwill may disagree with our choice but it reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017. address that. >> well, i'm guessing he is probably right in the sense that look, the first thing is we should clarify what this is and what this isn't. what this is the cia and f.b.i.
and intelligence community presented to donald trump and president obama and others, by the way, something that has been circulating out there are these rumors cultivated by your political opponents paid for and cultivated by them and the russians have this and know this, this is it out there. it's something that's out there. the details of the allegations are disgusting and some are criminal. others just gross but they are out there, you should know it. buzzfeed takes this and says just thought you ought to know it. that's not the way journalism works and how you do that. you don't take something and just say well, i found it on the street corner and i'm putting it out there even though it contains shocking, highly damaging accusations against a person if it's a public figure. that's not journalism, that's being a billboard where you can post stuff. >> bill: the allegations came from a man in britain, correct? he had been paid by gop
operatives during a primary campaign and then later was hired by hillary clinton to look for dirt on trump. is that how we understand where this came from in terms of sourcing? >> the "the new york times" very thorough says yes, a private eye essentially, a guy intelligence now in the united states gets paid to dig dirt on trump. it is part of what they come back with. this was circulated to news outlets during the campaign. this stuff that was out there that reporters already had and had already seen because the campaigns were dumping opposition research as is the practice. they passed on it at the time because it was unverified. it ends up in the intelligence briefing that goes to trump and then buzzfeed says here we go. i would caution trump and his supporters about this. this is what they asked for when they praised julian assange and wikileaks to high
heavens and say we don't care where it came from or if it's verified. it has been stolen. now the truth is out. it's bad for the democrats. here you go. this is over niagara, stolen, shady stuff and leaked stuff that just gets repeated, that's not doing your job as a news agency for buzzfeed here. this is sting -- sticking it up and says who knows. >> bill: rex tillerson is in the room. we'll hear from him in a minute. >> martha: we'll sneak in a quick chat with john bolton and senior fellow at the american enterprise institute and fox news contributor. what should people know about tillerson and what do you expect today, ambassador? >> i think this is a critical hearing for the trump cabinet. based on the democrats'
performance with jeff sessions yesterday nominated to be attorney general i don't know if this will be as contentious as people have thought. i was amazed yesterday to watch really was an epic fail by the democrats to go after somebody who had always been mentioned as one of their top targets. senator sessions did a great job, to be sure. continues today. but there is no evidence he is in any trouble at all. and the question is whether that failure on the side of the opposition occurs here today and in other hearings as well. >> martha: would you like to weigh in on this story that the trump team says is 100% made up and the fact that it has surfaced? >> i would just echo what chris said. when you live in the world of julian assange and people like him get to go into people's private files and steal them and then print them, you are going to get more of this.
and you know, the trump people have absolutely denied it. i think that's exactly the right thing to do from their perspective. and i think this is -- the notion that somehow the intelligence community got onto this will raise more questions that people will have to deal with when they take over as director of national intelligence and the cia. it is inconceivable that the intelligence services or somebody allowed this to leak. the president-elect says it's the intelligence services. maybe it was the obama white house. whoever did it i think has committed a serious act of breach of confidence if nothing else and maybe something criminal. but it just means that it is going to be very hard for the incoming trump administration to get a grip on an absolutely critical part of the government, namely the intelligence services. >> martha: that's a story that is going to continue in terms of how this information got out
there. john boulton, thank you for being with us today. >> bill: this hearing you'll see a lot of familiar faces. the ranking democrat is ben cardin from maryland and we'll see a lot of these faces. also on the committee is rand paul and marco rubio and ted cruz. rex tillerson is 64 years old, a life long boy scout, eagle scout and now he is working on behalf of the president-elect and incoming administration. marsha blackburn is with me. before we get to tillerson i want to bring in more reaction from you now. good morning to you there on the hill. rex tillerson has done a lot of work in russia and some primarily democrats have questioned his relationship with vladimir putin. he has also done work all over the world as chairman of
exxon-mobile at one point, the highest market cap company of value in the entire world. i've seen his prepared remarks on russia and he is ready to say that the obama administration left a vacuum of power in parts like eastern russia, nato, etc. and it was up to vladimir putin to fill that vacuum as opposed to the united states and will make the case that american relationships with our countries previously that have now been torn should be reestablished. what is your view on how tillerson makes that argument today? >> i think what you'll see from tillerson is a man who understands fully the impact of leadership, the presence of leadership, and the absence of leadership. and when it is absent, someone will fill the void. and i think you will see that pointed out. rex tillerson is a man who has lived the american dream. he is a kid from wichita falls,
texas, goes to the university of texas, gets a civil engineering degree and lands a job that he is very excited about with exxon-mobile and then he moves through the ranks there. he brings a worldview of let's do something good for the country. he has that boy scout mentality of be prepared, get in there, do the job and deliver. and he understands that. and i think you will see him translate those leadership skills that he has developed through scouting, through his career at exxon-mobile and lay out how he will apply those to being a great secretary of state for the united states. >> bill: when you move from the private sector given his vast experience, to government like the state department that's been entrenched in the way that washington does its business, is he going to find that an easy job or one met with
incredible frustration? or perhaps does he have the personality and experience to change it? >> you know, that's a key question. here is what i think is the nugget in this, bill. leadership skills are a transferable commodity. you establish those leadership skills in one area of your life and then you move them over to another area of your life. that's what you see him doing. he has honed those skills in the private sector and in the not for profit sector has he has led boy scouts. then he is applying those now to the united states and to the world stage. and i think he is going to do an amazing job because he knows how to work in the private sectors and not for profit sector and i think actually it is going to end up being a fairly easy transition for him. >> fairly easy. we'll see on that. thank you, marsha blackburn. republican from tennessee. we appreciate your time today.
>> martha: rex tillerson on the hot seat nominee to be secretary of state for donald trump. let's listen in on capitol hill. >> as all of us know, this is no easy task. we live in a dangerous year and a dangerous world. and after the last eight years, we face the circumstance where many of our friends no longer trust us and many of our enemies no longer fear us. rex tillerson is a serious man who understands the value of perseverance and he knows what it takes to accomplish difficult tasks. from an early age, he worked to climb the ranks in boy scouts to become an eagle scout and he started as a production engineer at exxon in 1975. eventually climbing his way to the top as ceo of the fortune 10 company. at exxon, he led one of the world's most respected
companies with over 75,000 employees and over 250 billion dollars in revenue. exxon does business in 52 countries and rex has traveled the globe negotiating business deals with world leaders. effectively advocating for the interests of his company, shareholders, and employees. the numerous achievements rex has earned don't come without passion. this is what america needs in the secretary of state and gives me confidence in the opportunity that rex has to chart a different, better, and stronger course for our national security and diplomacy. we need a secretary of state who understands that america is exceptional, who will establish policies upon that foundation
of exceptionalism and put america's interests first. repeatedly, the current administration has used the united nations to try to circumvent the will of congress and the american people. i look forward to a president and secretary of state who will instead vigorously defend u.s. sovereignty. i believe that rex has an incredible opportunity to defend the foreign policy principles upon which president-elect trump campaigned, to strengthen our friendship and alliances and to defeat our enemies. and i look forward to all of us working with him in the years ahead as we restore american leadership across the globe. thank you. >> thank you also for those concise comments. much appreciated. thank you both for being here and should you need to leave to go to other hearings please feel free to do so. senator nunn, sir. you need to turn your mic on,
sir. you've been out of practice leaving here. >> i thank you, chairman and senator and my friend johnny isaacson and members of committee. i wish i would have thought of this clock a long time ago. i would have saved agony for our committee. i'll try to cut my statement as short as possible and ask the whole statement be put into the record. >> without objection, thank you. >> mr. chairman. rex tillerson's resume is well-known. i want to raise two points. first rex tillerson's knowledge of and experience in russia and how his work in the private sector prepares him to run one of the most important departments in our government. with respect to russia, certain facts are clear. russia's recent flagrant actions indicate that its national interest sharply
differ from america's national interests in important places most acutely in ukraine, europe and syria. russia's values differ from america's values. in particularly in our form of government. commitment to personal freedom, human rights and the rule of law. these fundamental differences are very important and the fact that our interest and values differ should always inform our policy toward russia. but mr. chairman, the important facts don't end here. it is also a fact that russia today deploys hundreds of nuclear warheads, ballistic missiles that could be fired and hit their targets in less time than we have opening statements at the hearing today. it is also a fact that for both the united states and russia the risk of an accidental unauthorized or mistaken launch of a nuclear missile is unnecessarily high particularly in our world of increasing cyber vulnerability. it is also a fact that the united states and russia, like it or not, are bound together
in areas of unavoidable common interests including the prevention of nuclear and biological terrorism, the prevention of nuclear proliferation. false warnings of nuclear attacks and the hacking of command and control systems or nuclear facilities. these facts lead me to an inescapable conclusion. it is dangerous for the united states, russia and the world to have no dialogue on reducing nuclear risk and very little military to military communication. if this continues and we're guided by zero sum logic on both sides we and russia may be rewarded at some point with catastrophe. this is my judgment even when we have stark disputes, including strong evidence from our intelligence community that russia has interfered in u.s. elections. a finding that congress must fully examine, including its ominous implications for our political process and our security.
mr. chairman and members of the committee, there have been other moments in history with when voices in both washington and moscow argued our areas of disagreement were so great that we should not work on issues even of common interest between our two countries. for those who are considering this point, i would suggest rereading president kennedy's commencement address at american university delivered just months after the cuban missile crisis. president kennedy spoke of the pursuit of peace as necessary and rational quoting him in an age where singular nuclear weapon contains 10 times the explosive power delivered by all the allied forces in the second world war he rejected voices saying it is useless to speak of peace until the leaders of the soviet union adopt a more enlightened afsh naou. let us not be blind to our differences but also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which these differences can be
resolved. mr. chairman and members of the committee these words remain true today. i know rex tillerson pretty well and i am confident that he is well-prepared to do what is essential for the security of our nation to hold firm and tough where our national interests and values demand it, and to build on our common interests in working with other nations, including russia, on practical, concrete steps that will make the american people safer and more secure. mr. chairman, members of the committee, i also consider rex tillerson's experience and knowledge in business as an asset as well as his knowledge of russia. i think both are assets, not liability. i also consider his business experience very relevant to the world today. it's an asset. as i look at the world today, every significant international challenge we face has a very important business component. it's true in ukraine, middle east and true in most places.
rex tillerson knows these crucial regions. he knows the leaders, and he understands the challenges and the risks. he is also keenly aware of the power of the private sector and the important role it can play in addressing these fundamental issues. mr. chairman in wrapping up i'm confident that if confirmed to be secretary of state, rex tillerson will take off his corporate hat but he will use his vast experience to devote 100% of his considerable intellect, energy and experience to protecting america's interests in the troubled world we're in. i thank you, mr. chairman and i urge his confirmation. >> thank you for being here and participating and your many, many contributions relative to nuclear safety around the world. secretary gates. >> chairman, distinguished members, it gives me great pleasure to introduce rex tillerson as the president-elect's nominee to be
the next secretary of state. i've known mr. tillerson for a number of years through our shared experience in leading the boy scouts of america. on many occasions after a day of meetings rex and i would talk often for hours about international affairs, including russia and vladimir putin. i believe i have a pretty good idea about how he thinks about the world and the challenges we face. the secretary of state has four important roles advising the president, negotiating with foreign governments and international organizations, representing the united states abroad. having known and worked with 12 secretaries of state i believe mr. tillerson is very qualified to carry out each of these roles. he is deeply knowledgeable about the international scene and geo politics. and importantly would be an informed and independent advisor to the president. he would be candid and honest, willing to tell the president straight from the shoulder what
he needs to hear. he would bring decades of experience as a tough and successful negotiator with foreign governments to the position. i've heard him speak often to scout groups about american values and i know he would be an eloquent and passionate representative of the united states to the world. finally based on his long experience in leading a major corporation as well as the boy scouts, i know he will lead the department of state with skill and respect for the professionals. much has been said and written about mr. tillerson and russia. i've spent my entire adult life dealing with the soviet union and russia. i joined cia over 50 years ago to do my bit in the epic struggle with the soviet union. during that time i acquired a reputation of something as a hard liner. just ask a couple of previous secretary of states. i knew we not only had to resist and contain the ussr we also had to contain the risk of conflict with it. and that meant engaging in
dialogue, negotiations and even reaching agreements with nuclear weapons and to prevent confrontations froms could lateing. this new administration must thread the needle against pushing back against meddling, interventions and bullying of vladimir putin and at the same time find a way to stop a dangerous, downward spiral in our relationship with russia. i believe mr. tillerson is the right person at the right time to help accomplish both of those goals. so it is with pride and confidence i introduce him to you today and encourage his confirmation. >> we thank you all for being here. you honor us with your presence. we thank you for your contribution. you do not have to leave, but you cannot stay there. so we actually hope you'll stay somewhere on the premises and participate if you would like.
to serve our nation and to serve our state, having been mostly a business person. when i came here, the first order of business was to deal with the surge in iraq. pretty monumental time. we had an under-resourced effort that was taking place in iraq and at a time when really in many ways the united states had unleashed forces in the region that had not been -- not unlike taking in some ways a big stick and hitting a hornet's nest and changing dramatically the dynamic in the region. and so we had the choice of whether we surge and try to be successful at what we began, or take another course. afghanistan also had been under-resourced and all of a sudden we began discussing things like nation building. things that had not been part of our vocabulary for many
years. we had the arab spring that took place in 2011, again some of which was built off of some of the activities that i mentioned earlier. and we had all kinds of incoherent things that took place, the quick throwing aside of a leader in egypt that we had known for years. an undertaking in libya that i still have never understood what the goal was, but left a large vacuum in the region with arms spreading throughout northern africa and other places. we had the conflict in syria that began, if you remember, with us cheering on the people who wanted basic human rights and more of a democracy. and then we had the red line that our country did not follow up on. after that, we had the taking of crimea and destabilizing of
eastern ukraine some of which i think was observing u.s. leadership in the world. we had china redrawing a map that had been a map that had been around for thousands of years and claiming islands and building runways and until that time those things had not occurred. we've had the whole destabilization of europe where, i think, confidence levels in europe are probably the lowest they've been in our lifetimes. driven by concerns about in many cases what our role is but also the role of russia and what it has been doing in the region, the role of immigrants that are flowing in, the whole challenging of the european model. and then we've had a campaign, let's face it, that has been somewhat unorthodox. one that has also given concern to our allies in the world and to many around the world as to
just where america is going to be. with all of this chaos that has exhibited through multiple administration and will continue under this for a period of time, we've had chaos where the united states has been withdrawing in its leadership role. to me that's a recipe for further chaos. so this is a very important hearing. i had the ability the other day to sit down with general flynn who will be the national security advisor and spent time with people around him for some time and i know that rightly so his focus is also on our country doing well economically. every military leader we've had before us and certainly secretary gates have told us that if our nation is not strong economicly, if we're not doing the things fiscally to
keep ourselves strong, then our nation will be weak and our leadership around the world will be diminished. and so i'm thankful that that is the case. a lot of people here realize that it's not only important for us to be economically he successful, but we understand that people who are not successful create havoc around the world to build support with their countries and therefore we don't wish the other major countries in the world harm as it relates to economic growth. we want them to do well. countries like china and even russia, who no doubt has conducted very nefarious activities here in our country. many of us have seen in the middle east the fact that poverty -- not unlike what happens in our own country -- where people who live in cities
and neighborhoods have no hope, crime permeates, things occur and we've seen the same thing happen in the middle east where young people with no hope are attracted to ideologies that end up threatening our own nation. i appreciate the fact that at the national security office they are not only connected to those who will be dealing with our issues of foreign policy and our role in the world, but also focus on those economic issues, which brings me to tray. our country has shown great leadership around the world. rob portman served as our trade representative in previous administrations and there has been a great deal of talk what our role will be in take regard. i think most of us believe that a world that continues to focus on free enterprise, a world that continues to have democratic principles more and
more permeated is a world that is a better place for us. while our -- we can also always focus on trade as it relates to improving the standard of living of americans, an ancillary benefit is that people within those countries begin to adopt the values that we hold so dear here in our country. one of the things that many of us on the committee and so many in the audience have been able to do is also to see the importance of american values around the world. it's an amazing thing to be in afghanistan, for instance, and to see women at 4:30 in the morning who, by the way, do all of the hard work in afghanistan, up and ready to vote in the first election that they've voted in.
or to see young girls going to schools that they never had the opportunity to go to. to be in refugee camps where truly every eye is on the american that is there with hope. to be in venezuela and to see families whose loved ones are in prison for political reasons and looking to us to change that. to be in villages in africa where, for the first time, because of american ingenuity, 600 million people without power now have hope with very little in the way of u.s. resources but our leadership and setting a vision and working with others. the elimination almost of h.i.v., the dealing with malaria, the dealing with other diseases like ebola, many of us -- all of us, i think, have been in situations where young
people just want to touch us. they just want to see us. they want to hug americans because they like the people who founded our country believe in the american ideal. it is not just a country, but it's their hope. it's their vision of what their life might be with american leadership. i believe the world is at its best when america leads. and i think most people at this podium believe the same thing and we understand the importance of diplomacy and all of us know with the 1% of the u.s. budget that we spend on efforts like mr. tillerson may lead, but that 1%, if we're successful, the likelihood of the men and women that we cherish so much in our military are much less likely to be in
harm's way, which brings me to you. this is the person, mr. tillerson, who, by the way, had never met mr. trump, as i understand, until a few weeks ago, a month ago. i believe, like senator cornyn said, that it's very, very possible that you are, in fact, an inspired choice. we look at the president to -- if you think about it, approaches everything almost from an economic standpoint. that's been the world that he has lived in. and the fact that you've led a global enterprise with 70,000 employees around the world, have been there for 41 1/2 years, have met world leaders, know them up close and personally, to me that is going to give our new president much greater confidence in your ability to offer advice.
and i think it is going to give the state department possibly the ability to have the appropriate balance with other forces as it relates within the white house and other places, as it relates to developing a vision for our country. if you think about it, not only does the world not really understand where america is today, and all of us have had leaders in our offices wondering what is next, all of us, but if you think about the body poll -- politic in our own country doesn't understand. you look at the election. we had the bush presidency, the obama presidency, and then we've had this election where many things have been said and sometimes in unorthodox ways and not just the world leaders not know where we are, not just citizens who watch us on
television and other places, but our body politic here does not know so, mr. tillerson, this is a momentous time. this to me is the most important nomination that the president has made. the world paying attention to this hearing, i think, denotes that. you have the ability, no doubt, to draw a crowd. but it is going to be your responsibility to define clearly what america's role in the world is going to be. i know secretary gates has spoken to this many times as he talks about the way the world was when it was us and the soviet union. now it's very different. and the american people even don't fully understand what the future holds. you've got to restore our credibility, secondly. look, the nato alliance is shaken. europe is shaken. our arab friends, because of
negotiations that have taken place, are concerned about the future and i could go on and on. but i want to be respectful to other people's time. one of your first goals is going to be to restore u.s. credibility around the world. you are going to need to prioritize. one of the things i've witnessed over the last several -- the entire 10 years i've been here actually is that a lot of activity that takes place, but it is hard to discern where it is taking us. and so i think as a person who has led an organization, who has risen from the bottom, who has been the ceo of a global enterprise may in fact be an inspired choice to prioritize, to restore credibility, which is what a company like yours has had to do, to have those relationships based on trust, based on people knowing that we are going to do what we say. and then lastly, you are the
person that is charged with being the principle advisor to the president on foreign policy. and i think that's the question that people on both sides of the aisle will raise most here today is -- we know that the president-elect's foreign policy is evolving as he takes office, as he talks to people. and there is no way that you could speak on his behalf today. that cannot happen. so what people here today are going to want to know is how are you going to advise him? you will be one of the last people to talk to him. you'll be up under the hood sharing with him what you think ought to happen. we know at the end of the day you'll carry out his policy and all of us have watched as other secretaries of state have tried to carry out their own policy and not the president's and we know that that does not work. so we thank you for being here. my sense is that you are going to rise to the occasion.
that you are going to demonstrate that you are, in fact, an inspired choice. that you will be able to take the years of accomplishment and relationships and transfer that and translate it into a foreign policy that benefits u.s. national interests. thank you again for being willing to put yourself before our country and the world in this manner and with that, let me turn to our distinguished ranking member and my friend, ben cardin. >> thank you very much for the accommodations of this hearing. i agree with your final comment, this hearing is about mr. tillerson and mr. tillerson's views. but i think we'll have some specific questions because of statements made by mr. trump. but we do want to hear your views particularly as it relates to many of the challenges that chairman corker went through in his opening
statement. senator nunn it is a pleasure to have you on the committee and thank you for your years of public service. secretary gates, you honor our committee, both of you, by being here today. i also want to once again welcome our new colleagues, senator booker, senator berkeley, senator portman and senator young. i've worked with you all in different capacity and i know your commitment to national security and foreign policies and great additions to our committee. i want to acknowledge senator king. is that the first time he has been in the room to observe a hearing? we have to get you on the committee. thank you for your interest in this hearing. and mr. tillerson, as i told you in our private meeting, thank you. thank you for being willing to serve th it is not easy to put yourself forward, as you found since your nomination has been brought forward. your life has changed pretty dramatically, not just for you but for your entire family and
we thank you for your willingness to serve our country. providing advice and consent on the nominees of the president is one of the most important constitutional powers of the senate. it is an awesome responsibility and one that i know that all of us on this committee take with the utmost seriousness. mr. tillerson, there is no question about your impressive record in the business world rising through the ranks and then running exxon, one of the largest multi-national operations in the world. yet i would offer, having a view from the c suite as exxon is not the same as a view from the seventh floor of the department of state. those who suggest that anyone who can run a successful business can, of course, run a government agency do a profound disservice to both. serving the narrow market-driven interest of exxon shareholders is not the same as serving the national interests
of all the american people. effective corporate governance and management doesn't always lend itself to government decision making where bureaucracies and representative institutions such as congress serve a different political and social purpose than maximizing profits. a therefore want to get a sense of how you envision pivoting from the mindset of an oil man focused on profits to that of a statesman focused on promoting american interests and values around the world. and as you know, congress has a separate and co-equal branch of government has an important role to play assuring the values that have animated our nation continue to flourish. i want to share with you my vision of the united states foreign policy and the role of the secretary of state in carrying out that policy. i approach this hearing in discussion today with a clear set of expectations of the next administration. i believe strongly in a world
where america works with its allies and partners, a world that is governed bylaws and institutions consistent with the liberal international order. one where we champion our values both at home and abroad. indeed i think it's worth spending a few minutes this morning on the questions of human rights, democracy, good governance, anti-corruption and civil society support. it is worth doing so both because of the critical importance of these issues for america's role in the world and our values or our interests, not a separate set of considerations, but also because of the nature of exxon and your work there. mr. tillerson, there are some troubling questions about how you view these issues and how you as secretary of state intend to approach them. as you may know, over the course of my tenure in the house and senate, i have championed the cause of human rights and the importance of democratic process and good governance.
so when i see violations of sovereignty by china in the south china sea i speak out. when i see gross human rights violations in ethiopia, i speak out. when i see massive corruption in countries with extreme poverty, i speak out. and when i see severe erosion of democratic institutions in venezuela, i speak out. indeed, events over the past year serves as a stark reminder that democracy will not defend itself. it requires those of us who believe in the enduring values of the democratic experiment to nurture and support it and defend it from authoritarian opponents who do not share our values. perhaps the most egregious events we've seen recently has been what has happened by president putin of russia having effectively killed the nation's nuanced democracy, has led efforts across europe to
erode support for democratic institutions and calls into question well-established rules of the road. moscow directs efforts to undermine democracy through propaganda, false news, cyberattacks, and funding for populist political parties abroad. it should come as no surprise that these nefarious activities have reached our shores but it is stunning, nonetheless. last week the intelligence community found that mr. putin did indeed direct efforts to interfere in our elections. that's their conclusions. they found the kremlin attacked hillary clinton and directed resources to that end. i'm not saying that russia's efforts were decisive in the election outcome. that's not the point. the point is that we, the united states, were victims of cyberattack of our democratic process. recent news accounts indicate russia may well have information about mr. trump and they could use that to compromise our presidency.
it cannot be business as usual. that is why i was proud to introduce a bipartisan bill yesterday with senator mccain and several members of this committee including senator menendez, rubio and portman and others, which will impose enhanced sanctions on russia for its interference in our election and its ongoing aggression in ukraine and syria. we need to stand up to this bully in moscow and increase the cost for his behavior. so i was disappointed that in your prepared opening remarks submitted to the committee yesterday there is no mention about the direct confirmed cyberattack by russia on america. but you did find time to say it was the absence of american leadership that this door was left open and unattended signals were sent. i want to know exactly what additional actions the united states should have taken against russia in your view. do you, for example, support
additional sanctions against russia demonstrating america's leadership like what my colleagues and i introduced yesterday? mr. tillerson, i'm sure you can understand why i and many of my colleagues have deep concerns about your relationship with mr. putin. this is not simply a question of what you saw when you gazed into his eyes. you don't strike me as someone likely to be naive but how exxon supported directly and indirectly funding the tools that putin used to crush democracy and dissent at home and sew division abroad. i don't suggest it was your intent it is not too great of a distance from exxon's business partners to putin's slush funds for his disinformation campaign around the world. you'll represent a president who may ignore the consensus of 17 independent intelligence agencies who said the russian interfered with our election in an unprecedented way.
the same president has always made it clear he may ignore putin's invasion of ukraine, his interference in syria where russian forces partnered with iran, hezbollah and shia militia to shift momentum toward a dictator guilty of war crimes and russia is culpable of war crimes. and yet president-elect trump may take quick steps to make putin a close ally of the united states of america. there is serious discussion to be had about russia and the president-elect's plans for putin and we need to know and understand your views as the chairman has said on these critical issues of national security. in addition, if we take seriously that your tenure and experience at exxon serves as qualifications for secretary of state there is likewise a serious discussion this committee needs to have about the potential for conflicts of interest that arise from your
long corporate tenure. for far too long in my estimation u.s. foreign policy has treated core governance issues as secondary considerations. if you become our nation's top diplomat i want to know if governance issues will become a primary consideration. i've always worked to treat governance issues as one of the most important aspects of our foreign pollz. i have been centrally involved in several efforts around the years to bring transparencies, foster high standards of uncorrupt practices and use the tools we have to support human rights and civil society. i'm troubled that exxon under your leadership appears to be pushing in the opposite direction. we have much to discuss. in confirmed you'll be assuming your new job at a point in time. national power, economic,
military, diplomatic is redefined and redistributed across the globe. financial and economic orders are under distress, climate change is causing harm and creating and leading to greater instability. in many parts of the world there is a view that american power, determination and our support for american values is uncertain. clearly candidate trump added to that uncertainty. we have global khal edges. the middle east is undergoing a period of unprecedented violence and instability. iran committed to confrontations with the united states and allies there are no less than three civil wars in this part of the world. u.s. leadership is required to not only support movement toward negotiated political settlements. six years after the hope of arab spring there is a long winter in which many governments are backsliding for
open economies. my belief is the united states cannot -- without prioritizing values such as political inclusion, human rights, and free, active media and civil society. without these elements instability will persist. with serious implications for countering violent extremism and stemming the flow of refugees heading for europe. i also need to stress our important partner in this part of the world, israel. needs more than tweets about how great our relationship is going to be. i hope we'll hear concrete visions with specific proposals for the way the forward and strengthen that partnership. despite the challenges encouraging opportunities exist for our country. president obama leaves the next administration as an inheritance strengthened relationships with allies in europe and asia, a reenergized partnership with india and growing economic relations with
countries across sub sahara africa to advance u.s. security and economic interests. what i outlined may not be in line with president trump's vision of the world but i believe like standing up against violations of international laws and war crimes and human rights violations and corruption and speaking up for democracy and freedom of speech must be at the forefront of america's foreign policy agenda. finally, i want to note if confirmed you will be taking over as leader of one of the most skilled and able workforces of any organization on the planet. our foreign affairs and development professionals are truly among the most able and dedicated of our public service on the front lines safeguarding our national security and as ranking member of this committee i benefited greatly from their insight and counsel over the years. i encourage you will take advantage of the dedicated public servants should you be
confirmed. they're committed to extending our nations values and interests and i'm certain that you and our nation will benefit greatly from a partnership between your office and the department you have been nominated to lead. mr. chairman, i look forward to hearing from our witness and i look forward to questioning. >> mr. tillerson, thank you for being here. i think you've been adequately introduced and i think the world knows more about you than they ever thought today. without using any more time we thank you for being here today. i know you may have some family members to introduce which is always helpful. and if you wish to do so, begin with that and then with your comments. >> thank you, mr. chairman. yes, i do have members of my family with me today. my wife of more than 30 years who has kept a welcoming home when i would come back from my many travels and also for our sons and our five grandchildren. my sister, jo peters, life long
educator, high school math teacher and coach. my sister, dr. hamilton, family practice position in abilene texas for more than 30 years and my brother-in-law judge lee hamilton is just begun to serve his fifth term on the bench at the 104th district in abilene, texas. i appreciate so much the love and support they've given me in my past endeavors but that they would come all the way from texas to be with me today. >> good morning, i'm honored to have the backing of senator cornyn and cruz from texas. i want to thank senator nunn for his commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and secretary gates for his service to eight u.s. presidents and his own
leadership as president of the boy scouts of america. chairman corker, ranking member cardin and members of the committee is it an honor to appear before you today as nominee for secretary of state and seek the approval of this committee and the full senate for my confirmation. i come before you at a pivotal time in both the history of our nation and our world. nearly everywhere we look, people and nations are deeply unsettled. old ideas and international norms which were well understood and governed behaviors in the past may no longer be effective in our time. we face considerable threats in this evolving new environment. china has emerged as an economic power in global trade and our interactions have been both friendly and adversarial. while russia seeks respects and relevance on the global stage, its recent activities have
disregarded america's interests. radical islam is not a new ideology but it is hateful, deadly, and an illegitimate expression of the islamic faith. adversaries like iran and north korea pose great threats to the world because of their refusal to conform to international norms. as we confront these realities, how should america respond? my answer is simple. to achieve the stability that is foundational to peace and security in the 21st century american leadership must not only be renewed but asserted. we have many advantages on which to build. our alliances are durable and our allies are looking for a return of our leader. ship. our men and women in uniform are the world's best force. [disturbance in the room]
our men and women in uniform are the world's finest fighting force and we possess the world's largest economy. america is still the destination of choice for people the world of over because of our track record of hope for our fellow man and benevolence. we've been indecember pensable in providing the stability to prevent another world war, increased 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 goodwill toward the world is unique. and 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 and in some instances withdrawn from the world. in others we've intervened with good intentions but did not achieve the global stability we sought. instead our actions and non-actions 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 that absence of american leadership. in this campaign president-elect trump proposed a bold new commitment to advancing american interests in our foreign pollz. i hope to explain what that 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 does not start with ourselves, we cannot credibly extend it to our friends and our adversaries. we must hold ourselves accountable to upholding the promises we make to others. 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. 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 overlook violations of national accords like iran and 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 was trust is broken encourages more bad behavior and it must end. we cannot be accountable if we aren't truthful and honest in our dealings. as you are aware, 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 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 eyesology 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. 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 utmost mission of defeating isis. because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. defeating isis must be or 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 will allow us to increase our attention of other agents of radical islam like al qaeda, muslim brotherhoods and certain elements within iran. 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 the pursuit of its own goals which at times has 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 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 other issues exclude other areas of productive partnership and be clear eyed about our
relationship with russia. russia today poses a danger but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests. it has invaded ukraine and 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 unintended signals were sent. we back tracked 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 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. for cooperation with russia
based on common interests 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 interest of america and her allies. russia must know that we'll 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 acknowledges that american leadership requires moral clarity. we do not face an either/or choice on defending global human rights. our values are our interest 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 action 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 not held them accountable for their conduct. their leaders received much while their people received little. that serves neither the interest of cubans or americans. abraham lincoln declared that america is the last best hope of earth. our moral light must not go out if we're to remain an agent of freedom for mankind, supporting human rights in our foreign policy is a key component 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 and idea of
culture of americans who came before us made the united states the greatest nation in history and so have their sacrificed. we stand on the shoulders of those who sacrificed much and sometimes everything. our fallen heroes in uniform. our foreign service officers and others 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 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 that i must work closely with my cabinet colleagues and all relevant departments and agencies of the administration to build consensus. but let me also stress that keeping the president's trust means keeping the public trust. and keeping the public trust
means keeping faith with their 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 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 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 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. >> bill: -- >> thank you very much for your testify. to commit to testify on request from this committee? >> yes. >> with that i know the committee members rarely give opening statements like i gave to move this along. i'll reserve my time for interjection and go to senator cardin and then senator rubio. >> once again, mr. tillerson, thank you very much. do you agree with me that creating 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. >> do you also agree that under mr. putin's leadership fails in that category? >> yes, sir. >> 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. one person who lost his life in a courageous way, a young attorney representing a client with u.s. interests, 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. the congress has passed a law in his name. 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 not held accountable by russia. do you support that move? >> yes, i do. >> thank you for that. under the obama administration, there have been 39 individuals who have been individually sanctioned under the law and five more were added 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 the law? >> senator, i will ensure that 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 throughout the world. do you also commit to support the global 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 will endeavor to comply with that. >> the visas are privileges to come to america. there is no due process issue when issuing a visa. it is a privilege to be able to come to a country so we have -- there is 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 that have to come in, which is exempted from that provision. >> i understand. that is what i intended. i think i would ensure that a
full examination was made of any and all applicable laws or other policies, but then we would follow those and implement. >> you mentioned in your statement about the invasion by russia of crimea. does russia have in your view a legal claim to cream -- crimea? >> , no it was taking of territory not there. >> would you agree that they haven't complied to the minsk agreement? >> that continues as i understand it. a full completion of the accord hasn't been achieved. >> i want to get your view on the sanctions that the united states applied. maybe i'll drill down if i might by asking this first question. you stated in your statement that part of the reasons why russia -- we were in
finishective is preventing russia 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? >> 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 as a private citizen. 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 eastern 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 -- >> 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 have would have recommended that 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 the u.s. is going to provide them intelligence and that there either nato or u.s. will provide air surveillance over that border to monitor any movements. >> your recommendation would have been to do a more robust supply of military? >> yes, sir. i think what russian leadership would have understood is a powerful response that indicated yes, you took the crimea, but this stops right here. >> so to understand, our nato partners particularly in the
baltics and polland are concerned about russian aggression. nato has deployed troops in this region in order to show russia that article five 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 it required a proportional show of force to indicate to russia there will be no more taking of territory. >> that's encouraging for me to hear you say that because it is not consistent with what mr. trump has been saying under title five commitments under nato. i appreciate 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 to get europe to act. 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 up and we want to deter any further action on their part. so yes, american leadership is oftentimes, if not almost always, required to demonstrate that first step. >> as you understand under less we move in a strong position, we'll be the best -- we'll get the strongest reactions on sanctions from the united states. we saw that in iran and i know that some of us have mentioned to you the legislation that was filed yesterday.
i don't know if you've had a chance 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 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 are doing in ukraine or what you are doing in georgia, that there is going to be an economic price you are going to pay. i take it you believe that's a powerful tool and one that you would consider applying. >> senator, i have not had the opportunity to review the legislation. i'm aware that it has been introduced. and yes, i think in carrying out the state department carrying out its diplomacy or important role in trying to negotiate to a different course of action, to a different pathway, we need a strong deterrent in our hand.
teddy roosevelt carrying a big stick. even in diplomacy it's useful to have a stick that's in your hand so that whether you use it or not it becomes part of that conversation. >> let me ask one final question. i was meeting with mr. pruitt yesterday and i asked him about his view on global leadership and climate issue. i'll ask it to you. he said we were part of cop 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 in 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. >> well, mr. tillerson. do you believe during the 2016 presidential campaign russian intelligence services directed a campaign of active measures involving the use of internet trolls and the dissemination to undermine faith in our election process? >> i have had to unclassified briefings because i haven't received clearance yet. i read the interagency report released on january 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 politics could these have happened without the knowledge and consent of vladimir putin? >> i am not in a position to be able to make that determination. again, that's indicated in the report but i know there is additional classified information that might inform my -- >> you have engaged in significant business -- i'm
sure you're few things that happen of major proportion that happen without vladimir putin's permission. is it possible for something like this involving you the nighted 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 importing asset freeze sanctions on persons who engage in -- private in-- would you advise the president to sign it? >> i would certainly want to examine all of the corners, all four corners of that. >> those are the four corners, sanction people involved in cyberattacks against the united states and interfering in our elections. >> the threat of cyberattacks is a broad issue coming from many corners of the world. the most recent manifestation
-- 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. >> no matter where they come from. belgium, france, is someone is conducting cyberattacks against the president that imposes sanctions as mandatory, would you advise the president to sign it? >> i think it is that 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 that those be dealt with on a country by country basis. taking all other elements into consideration in the relation sh*ifp. giving the executive the tool is one thing. requiring the executive to use it without any other considerations i would have concerns about. >> i understand your testimony you're saying it was mandatory you wouldn't be able to advise the president to sign it
because you want the president to have the flexibility to decide which countries to sanction and which ones to not sanction? >> under which circumstances to sanction. >> because you want to be able to take other things into account like for example the desire to perhaps improve relations with that country and therefore the president maybe doesn't want to sanction them even though they're 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 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. >> what is 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 tiles with the president you may advise the president not to impose sanctions or individual in that country under concern it could damage the rels of our relationship with them on a cyberattack, a direct attack on our national security and electoral process. would you advise the president-elect to repeal the obama administrations executive orders regarding cyberattacks. >> i think the president-elect has indicated and if confirmed i would support what is really required is a comprehensive assessment of our cyber threat and cybersecurity policies. in my view based on what i have 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.
as i said we're seeing it manifest itself in ways we never envisioned. >> i understand the cybersecurity plan. we have to have one to protect ourselves and handle cyberattacks against our country. that's separate about people who already conducted attacks should be sanctioned and singled out. an executive order has sanctioned those individuals. do you believe that order should be repealed by the incoming president? >> if confirmed, senator, i would want to examine it and all aspects of it in consultation not only with the president but with other agencies that will have input on this as to their views. >> again, given all the executive order says is certain individuals responsible for cyber actions 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. >> let me ask you this question. is vladimir putin a war criminal? >> i would not use that term. >> 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 targeting schools and markets. his military has tar g*eted schools and markets and other civilian inextra structure resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. 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 and 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 said he would punish them and ordered the russian air force to bomb the hospitals, a market, 137 people died instantly. used fuel air explosive bombs. the bombs that ignite and burn the air breathed in by people hiding in basements. they use cluster munitions. he used battlefield weapons against civilians. when it was all said and done
an estimated 300 thousand civilians were killed and the city was completely destroy. there is credible body of reporting that this was all those bombings were part of a black flag operation on the part of the sfb and if you want to know the motivation here is what it is. putin's approval ratings at 31%. by mid august of that year it was at 78% in just three months. so based on all this information and what is publicly in the record about what has happened in aleppo and the russian military you are still not prepared to say that vladimir putin have violated the 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'm sure there is a body of record in the classified domain and i think in order to deal with a serious question like
this i would want to be -- >> video and pictures are there >> fully informed before advising the president. >> there is so much information out there about what has happened in aleppo, leaving the chechen issue aside. there is so much information out there. it should not be hard to say that vladimir putin's military has conducted war crimes in aleppo. it is never acceptable, you would agree, for a military to specifically target civilians, which is what has happened there through the russian military and i find it discouraging your inability to cite that, which i think is globally accepted. i want to in my last minute half move quickly to an additional question. i want to enter two things into the record without objection. the first is a partial list of political dissidents, journalists of vladimir putin who died under highly suspicious circumstances. the second thing i want to enter into the record is a letter addressed to this committee by a man who himself
was mysteriously poisoned and opponent of the putin regime. i would like to enter that into the record. mr. tillerson, do you believe that vladimir putin and his cronies are responsible for ordering the murder of the countless dissidents, journalists and political opponents? >> i do not have sufficient information to make that claim. >> have you aware that people who oppose vladimir putin wind up dead all over the world poisoned, shot in the back of the head? do you think it was coincidental or quite possible or likely as i believe that they were part of an effort to murder his political opponents? >> well, people who speak up for freedom in regimes that are -- 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 in confirmed that i deal with facts. that i deal with sufficient information which means having access to all information, i'm sure there is 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 been publicly reported. >> none of these is classified. these people are dead. political opponents. >> your question was people who were directly responsible for that. i'm not disputing these people are dead. >> thank you, mr. tillerson. congratulations on your nomination and thank you for coming back to meet with me. i would like to take this opportunity to expand upon the conversation we had last week. since you've worked in one sector for one company throughout your entire career, getting a sense of your worldview is incredibly important since you will be the chief advocate and advisor to
the president elect on those issues. so 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 take a 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 forms 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 inviability of their borders? >> martha: ard -- >> yes. did russia violate that? >> yes. >> did the continue -- >> i'm not sure which specific countries you're referring to. >> the annexation of crimea, the eastern ukraine, georgia, just to mention a view. >> 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 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? knowing that standard and knowing what is all within the realm of public information you cannot say whether those actions constitution taout a war crime or not? >> i wouldn't 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. >> if i could, let me ask -- >> if you won't take my time. >> it will be added back. if you had sufficient evidence
in looking at classified information that that had taken place, would that not be a war crime? >> yes, sir. >> for all of these answers that 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 the specific area. >> well, in your statement on page 3 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 to implement that policy as confirmed as secretary of state. i assume to some degree you've had some discussion about what it is that that worldview is going to be in order to understand whether you are willing to execute that on behalf of the person you are going to work for. >> in a broad construct and in terms of the principles that are going to guide that, yes, sir. >> and i would have thought that russia would be at the very top of that considering
all the actions that are taking place. did that not happen? >> that has not occurred yet, senator. >> you engaged regularly with world leaders including vice president in russia. in 2013 he awarded you the order of friendship award. in our conversations you had direct and personal access of the russian president of the course of your tenure there and then in 2014 exxon-mobile lobbied against sanctions and against the stability for ukraine act that i introduced last year and employed well-known washington-based lobbyist to 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 the sanctions.
sanctions are one of the most effective in our arsenal to avoid putting american lives at risk by engaging in traditional warfare. now, today in response to a previous question by senator cardin you said sanctions are a powerful tool. you've made statements and given speeches where you said you do not believe sanctions are a useful tool. so if sanctions are not a useful tool have you changed yoare the tools of peaceful diplomacy you will use to get countries to return and act within the international order? what will you say to vladimir putin putin when he says to you you said sanctions were bad? >> i think it's important to acknowledge that when sanctions are imposed, they by their design will 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 to disrupt american business but to disrupt the economies of those countries. now, american business may or may not be affected to some degree. >> 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, and all the financial sectors. so by its very -- i'm only stating a fact. i'm not debating it. the fact is sanctions in order to be implemented do impact american business interests. 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 and in concert let's ensure those anxious imply equally everywhere. >> when you have made your remarks and i have a long list you'll introduce for the record you didn't differentiate. you made the broad case that sanctions aren't an effective tool. 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're the only global super power with the means and moral compass shaping the world for good. i totally agree with you in that respect. our efforts in leading the international community on sanctions against our adversaries like iran and north korea represent exactly that. leadership and a moral compass. not about disadvantageing american businesses. it is about putting patriotism
over profit. diplomacy is not the same as deal making. it requires getting other countries often to do things they may not always want to do and there isn't necessarily something to trade it for. this is how we were able to build an extensive and effective sanctions network against iran through legislation from congress and diplomatic pressures from secretaries of state across different administrations we built the primary and secondary actions that crippled iran's economy. you lobbied against the iran accountability and diversement act and reportedly under exxon-mobile. i say exxon-mobile but you were the head. wanted to eliminate secondary sanctions. this makes sense in 2004, 5 you were engaged with businesses with states sponsors of
terrorism including, syria and the sudan. countries that, except for the maneuver of your subsidiary exxon-mobile could not have been dealing with. exxon mobile is listed as a coalition member as usa engage a group that lobbies against sanctions. this group also lobbied against sanctions including against iran. and applauded passage of the joint comprehensive plan of action. so my question is with that as a history, with the work that you did in the spring of 2011 where you oversaw an exxon-mobile deal with the kurdish regional government in iraq after the united states government did not want to see that happen fearing that a deal 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 intent on pursuing their own interests at the
expense of u.s. policies and potential 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 their interests? >> there was a lot in that question. i have never lobbied against sanctions personally. i continue to believe -- >> 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 done -- 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. others are invited to express their view and inform the process. but my pivot now, if confirmed to be secretary of state, will
have one mission only. to represent the interests 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 weak response. so it is important in designing sanctions that, as i've said, they are carefully crafted and carefully targeted with an intended effect and then enforced. american leadership can broaden participation in those sanctions you're right. the iran sanctions were very effective because others joined in. >> senator menendez has made sure that sanctions are in place and has done -- led us all, if you will, relative to iran. as my first longer interjection let the record say your time
ran over to accommodate the interjection i made earlier. it's my understanding, i think you called me during this time, that your concern with the sanctions that were in place relative to iran were not that they were put in place. but that the europeans had put them in a way that was different and it caused adverse situation for u.s. business relative to european businesses, is that correct? >> that was with respect to the sanctions for russia, that's correct. >> with that, let me just go on with senator rubio's questions. i understand how a nominee would wish to be careful how they answer, especially one that plans to do what they say. in the event with many of those where he was asking about war crimes, if you were able through your own independent
knowledge in working with classified agencies here within the government to determine that the types of activities that he so well articulated took place, you would agree those would be war crimes. >> yes, sir. >> senator johnson. >> thank you, mr. chairman, welcome, mr. tillerson. i imagine you're having a pretty good time already. i want to pick up a little bit on sanctions because i have had my own legitimate concerns about the effectiveness of sanctions and the double-edged sword nature of them. for example, again you are pretty well aware of events and public opinion inside russia. i'm concerned that some not well-designed sanctions can solidify, for example, vladimir putin's standing within russia. is that a legitimate concern on sanctions? >> yes, sir, i think it is. >> in your testimony a couple of statements you said that
russia is not unpredictable, which means saying russia is pretty predictable. russia does not think like we do. can you further expand on both those comments? >> in terms of their -- [a disturbance in the back of the room] >> please don't put exxon in charge of the state department. >> if you would, i can easily add time myself. if we stop the clock when these kind of interferences take place it would be appreciated. with that, senator johnson. >> if you forgot the question it was explain your comments that russia is predictable basically and that russians do
not think like we do. expand on that. >> in my experience of both dealing with russia and representatives of russian government and russian entities, and the length of time i have spent in russia as an observer, my experience with the russians are they're very calculating. they are very strategic if their thinking and they develop a plan. [disturbance in the back of the room] >> our home state of texas people are resisting pipelines. whether or not you become secretary of state -- oil is dead and people will not stop. senators, be brave. stop this man. protect the vulnerable. senators, be brave, protect the vulnerable. >> i can maybe answer the
question unimpeded. >> i found the russians to be very strategic in their thinking, very tactical and they generally have a very clear plan that they've laid before them. and so in terms of when i make the statement they aren't unpredictable, if one is able to step back and understand what their long-term motivation is and you see they will chart a course, it is an understanding of how are they likely to carry that plan out and where are all the elements of that plan that are on the table? and in my view, the leadership of russia has a plan. it is a geographic plan that is in front of them and they are taking actions to implement that plan. they are judging responses and making the next step in the plan based upon the responses. in that regard, they are not unpredictable. if russia does not receive an
adequate response to an action, they will execute the next step of the plan. >> be a little more specific. summarize that plan you see that they have. >> russia, more than anything, wants to reestablish its role in the global world order. they have a view that following the breakup of the soviet union they were mistreated in some respects in the transition period. they believe they deserve a rightful role in the global world order because they're a nuclear power and they are searching how to establish that. and 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 of these years developing the capability to do that and i think that's now what we're witnessing is an assertion on their part in order to force a conversation
about what is russia's role in the global world order. and so the steps being taken are simply to make that point that russia is here, russia matters, and we're a force to be dealt with and that is a fairly predictable course of action they're taking. i think 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 friend. 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 i think as secretary
gates alluded to and secretary nunn alluded to in opening remarks, dialogue is critical so these things don't spin out of control. we need to move russia from being an adversary always to a partner at times, and on other issues we'll be adversaries, not unlike my comments i made on china. at times china is friendly and at times they are an adversary. but with russia engagement is necessary in order to define what is that relationship going to be and then we'll know how to chart our own plan of action to respond to that. >> in my mind if i take a look at the spectrum of america's relationship with different nations you have friends and allies, you have friendly rivals, you have unfriendly adversaries and you have enemies. right now you are basically putting russia in the unfriendly adversary category? >> unfriendly to enemies. i think at this point they
clearly are in the unfriendly adversary category. i hope they do not move to enemy. that would imply even more direct conflict with one another. >> but you don't hold out much hope we can move them into the friendly rival category, maybe partners where we have mutual interest. >> i tend to think in three categories. there are friends, there are partners, and there are adversaries. at times certainly our friends are partners from time to time on specific actions. our adversaries on time to time can be partners but on other issues we won't agree and we remain adversary. an adversary at the ideological level is one thing. an adversary at the direct conflict level, that's a very different. >> i want to switch subjects a little bit. i agree with former senator nunn that he said your business experience, private sector
background, your relationship with putin is an asset coming to 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 private sector. i think economic strength is linked to national strength. your background traveling the world, i know i asked you when we met. i don't know if you ever did the calculation. how many different countries have you traveled to? >> i've never actually counted them up. somewhere between 40 and 50. i've never actually counted them. >> how many countries have you actually done deals with where you dealt with top leadership? >> i've never counted those but it is certainly probably in the -- between 10 and 20 where i was directly engaged in a significant way. >> let me ask you as someone from the private sector being asked to serve your nation,
understanding you will be going through a process like this, understanding all the disclosure, leaving the 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 a responsibility as a ceo of exxon-mobile, fiduciary responsibility. your role will change. can you describe what your mindset is making that transition? >> i have no reservations about my clean break with my private sector life. it was a wonderful 41 1/2 year career and i'm very 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 mindset 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 are some excerpts of his quote. he can't think of many nations in the world that we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over, president obama. united states prestige and respect in the world is lower now than six or seven years ago. is that your general sense as you travel around the world during the last eight years of this administration that our power and influence and prestige and respect is lower? that we have not developed better relationships around the world? >> senator, 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 10 years on an unintended listening tour as i traveled about the world conducting affairs. engaging with the top leadership, heads of state in 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 the 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 meeting about his 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 is no use whining or complaining or pointing fingers, we'll play that hand out. 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. people want america to come back. >> one of the reasons i really value the private sector experience is the number of times you used reality, clarity, moral leadership and moral lights, facts, use logic, clear priorities. those are the words of a business person and that's what i think you will be welcome in the state department. thank you mr. tillerson and thank you, mr. chairman. >> bill: this is a big day of news not just in washington but here in new york city. the tillerson hearing continues now and perhaps some of the more interesting headlines is asked whether or not vladimir putin is a war criminal.
his answer i will not use that term. many of these senators will be drilling down on the russian relationship with the united states. how he would deal with vladimir putin. we are not likely to ever be friends but there is scope to have a different relationship. suggesting he has been there often, knows the russian people. dialogue is critical. from the tillerson hearing so far, that seems to be the headline as we wait, martha, for donald trump's first press conference in several months. >> martha: also significant with senator corker stepped in and asked rex tillerson if it were to be substantiated to you the list of crimes that were just enumerateed by marco rubio and could be linked to vladimir putin would you call him a war criminal? he said yes, i would. how he sees different countries around the world. there are enemies, there are friends and in the middle category there are partners.
and he said at any given moment an enemy can be a partner at times in certain situations and he spoke about russia and china. a friend can also be a partner in certain situations. he is walking very careful territory here. he also said, when he was asked what was your biggest reservation about taking this nomination and he said i had none. any i could have come up with would have been selfish. i love my country and i am a patriot and i want my next chapter to be of service to my country. >> bill: grew up in wichita falls, texas and ran one of the biggest countries in the world. day two of the hearing for jeff sessions to be the next attorney general. when there is news there that we'll bring it to you. now we want to transition toward the president-elect. there has been a doozy of a
story dropped yesterday and overnight hours about alleged connections between donald trump and the russian government or business activities that may or may not have happened in the country of russia. mr. trump has pushed back hard on these allegations and reports and we would expect this topic to come up, whether he addresses it, whether he initiates it or whether the reporters ask him it will be a topic momentaryly here. >> >> martha: his communication has been through twitter and a question or two on the fly in trump tower. he would walk out with one of the people that are nominees for his position and take one or two questions. it has been since july that he has taken open forum questions from the press. they are chomping at the bit and now they have this other issue to chew on with the story bill just mentioned which no doubt will get some territory here as well. there are a lot of questions that the press will have for the president elect this morning as we get this underway.
we'll be watching it live here on fox news channel and carry it live on fox business. >> we now go to our colleagues at "happening now," we will see you again tomorrow right here in america's newsroom. >> we begin with a fox news alert, we are awaiting the start of that news conference with president-elect donald trump, his first and almost six months, it comes just nine days before mr. trump's inauguration, welcome to "happening now," i'm jenna lee. i'm jon scott, as we await the start of mr. trump's news conference, we are also looking at confirmation hearings for three of mr. trump's cabinet picks, including senator jeff sessions, set for a second day in his bid to become the nation's next attorney general. also a programming note, fox business network has complete coverage of the rex tillerson confirmation hearings and they will dip into the sess