Tillerson told lawmakers Putin was more prepared than Trump for meeting: report

Former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonBolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration Bolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration Trump's nastiest break-ups: A look at the president's most fiery feuds MORE told lawmakers this week that Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTrump remarks deepen distrust with intelligence community Senate rejects effort to block Trump's Qatar, Bahrain arms sales Senate rejects effort to block Trump's Qatar, Bahrain arms sales MORE was more prepared for a key meeting in Germany than President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

U.S. officials reportedly expected a short meeting, but the discussion turned into a more than two-hour session covering several key geopolitical issues.

“We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted,” a House Foreign Affairs Committee aide told the Post. “There was a discrepancy in preparation, and it created an unequal footing.”

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Tillerson, who was fired in March 2018, spoke to a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the committee on Tuesday at the request of Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland Bipartisan House bill seeks to punish Burma for genocide MORE (D-N.Y.), the panel's chairman.

Tillerson had a notoriously acrimonious relationship with Trump. The two repeatedly clashed on a litany of issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, and Tillerson once reportedly called the president a “moron.”

Committee aides told the Post that Tillerson refrained from openly disparaging the president but that the former secretary of State's inability to answer some questions was revealing.

In one exchange, Tillerson reportedly said he and Trump “shared a common goal: to secure and advance America’s place in the world and to promote and protect American values.”

When pressed, Tillerson clarified that although he and the president shared the same goal, they did not share the same “value system,” according to the Post.

When asked to describe Trump’s values, Tillerson said, “I cannot,” according to an aide who spoke to the newspaper.

“Just as matter of fact, he stated that he couldn’t or wouldn’t unpack the president’s values for us,” a committee aide said.

Trump in a tweet early Thursday said Tillerson "made up" the story.

"I don’t think Putin would agree," Trump said. "Look how the U.S. is doing!"

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tillerson's reported remarks.

— This report was updated at 8:39 a.m.