Tillerson says he hasn't talked Russia policy with Trump

Tillerson says he hasn't talked Russia policy with Trump
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said he has not talked about the specifics of Russia policy with President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE.

Tillerson made the remark under questioning from Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezCNN anchors break into laughter over comedian's alleged prank call to Trump Comedian claims he tricked Trump while impersonating Dem senator Schumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms MORE (D-N.J.), who asked about Russian sanctions and its aggression during a confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Trump's nominee denounced many of Russia’s actions, like invading Crimea, some of its Syria bombing and its human rights record, coming out more strongly against the nation than Trump has.

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“For all these answers that you’ve given me, does the president-elect agree with you?” Menendez asked.

“The president-elect and I have not had the opportunity to discuss this specific issue or this specific area,” Tillerson said.

Menendez, surprised at Tillerson’s response, noted that Russia’s actions have been in the spotlight lately and near the top of America's diplomatic agenda, which is the chief concern of the secretary of State.

“I assume, to some degree, that you had some discussion about what it is that [Trump’s] world view is going to be in order to understand whether you would be willing to execute that on behalf of the person you are going to work for,” Menendez said.

Tillerson added that the two have spoken “in a broad construct and in terms of the principals that are going to guide” Russia policy, but not far beyond that.

“That’s pretty amazing,” the senator responded, giving a look of astonishment.