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Trump vented to Tillerson about law barring US companies from bribing foreign officials: report
President Trump reportedly vented to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about federal laws preventing American businesses from bribing foreign officials, The New Yorker reported Friday.
A source familiar with the exchange told the magazine that Tillerson was visiting the White House in February when Trump brought up the topic in their discussion.
It's unclear which part of the law Trump was reportedly complaining about.
According to the report, Tillerson told Trump about an exchange he had with Yemen's oil minister during his time at ExxonMobil. Tillerson told Trump the Yemeni official offered him a bribe to get Exxon to agree to an oil deal.
Tillerson said he refused and told the Yemeni official that they'd have to "play straight." The official said Tillerson used the anecdote to explain to Trump that U.S. businesses don't need to use bribes, but that they "could bring the world up to our own standards," according to The New Yorker.
The anecdote came in a piece titled "Rex Tillerson at the Breaking Point," looking at the secretary of State amid fresh attention to tensions between him and the president.
Tillerson held a hastily-scheduled press conference on Wednesday to push back on an NBC News report that he had considered resigning earlier this year and had also referred to Trump as a "moron" during a meeting with national security officials at the Pentagon over the summer.
Tillerson denied that he ever considered resigning, but didn't explicitly deny the claim that he referred to Trump as a "moron."
"The places I come from, we don't deal with that kind of petty nonsense," Tillerson said. "I'm just not going to be part of this effort to divide this administration."
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert later denied that Tillerson had used the language.
NBC reported further on Thursday that Trump was "furious" after hearing the initial report about Tillerson and reportedly "fumed" to chief of staff John Kelly and others.
Trump has repeatedly blasted NBC after the initial report, demanding the network apologize and calling it a "disgrace to good reporting."