Tillerson: Using American aid for 'some kind of personal gain [is] wrong'
© Greg Nash

Former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonOvernight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Kudlow says Trump 'looking at' reforming law on bribing foreign officials Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book MORE said Monday that leveraging American foreign aid for “some kind of personal gain [is] wrong."

His comments come as the Trump administration continues to face mounting allegations of doing just that in the midst of House Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.

PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff asked Tillerson what he would have done if, while he was secretary of State, the Trump administration had conditioned millions in U.S. military assistance to Ukraine on the launch of a political investigation, CNN reported. The accusation is at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment probe. 

"I'd rather not answer a hypothetical on something that's so visible in the hearings today," Tillerson said, CNN reported. 

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But the former secretary of State later expanded on the answer, calling the move "wrong." 

“If you’re seeking some kind of personal gain and you’re using — whether it’s American foreign aid or American weapons or American influence — that’s wrong. And I think everyone understands that,” Tillerson said, PBS Newshour reported. 

Tillerson’s comments come as House lawmakers enter the second week of marathon public impeachment hearings probing the Trump administration’s contacts with Ukraine.

Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanPresident Trump's intelligence community security blanket Whistleblower's lawyer questions GOP senator's whistleblower protection caucus membership White House limits number of officials allowed to listen to Trump calls with foreign leaders: report MORE, a Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, appeared together Tuesday during a session that began in the morning. They are set to be followed by former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid GOP chairmen seek interview with Obama officials as part of Biden-Ukraine probe Push to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war MORE and Tim Morrison, an outgoing top Russia expert on the National Security Council.

In the interview Tillerson also addressed allegations from former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyIs Mike Pence preparing to resign, assume the presidency, or both? Judd Apatow urges Georgia voters to get rid of Doug Collins after 'terrorists' comment Nikki Haley: Democratic leadership, 2020 Dems are the only people mourning Soleimani death MORE that he and former White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE tried to recruit her to take actions that would thwart the president in an effort to “save the country.”

“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” Haley wrote in her new book “With All Due Respect,” The Washington Post reported.

Tillerson denied the claim, PBS Newshour reported.

“[There are] so many people still [in the administration] trying to serve the country, so when people write books that quickly after leaving, my guess is [there are] two motivations: They need the money and they need the political future,” Tillerson said.

“I recall the meeting,” Tillerson added. “But at no time in that conversation do I have any recollection at all of any discussion suggesting that she needed to join some effort of ours.”

He denied that he and Kelly were ever trying to undermine the president.