Tillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee

Tillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee
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Former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' Timeline: Trump and Romney's rocky relationship Top Democrat demands Barr recuse himself from case against Turkish bank MORE on Tuesday met with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and their staff to discuss his tenure at the State Department.

Tillerson met with Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelOvernight Defense: Army says it isn't investigating Vindman | White House outlines legal justification for Soleimani strike | Service member dies in Africa Trump administration outlines legal justification for Soleimani strike Pompeo to testify on Iran in February MORE (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulGun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars MORE (R-Texas), the panel’s chairman and ranking member, respectively, and a small number of majority and minority staff. A committee aide told The Hill the meeting covered a wide variety of topics from Tillerson’s time as secretary of State.

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No immediate details were available about the substance of the conversation, though reports said Tillerson discussed foreign policy issues in the Trump administration. The Daily Beast was the first to report the meeting.

A committee aide told The Daily Beast that the former official said the Trump administration actively sought to avoid confronting Russia over the intelligence community’s conclusion that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election. Tillerson also reportedly said Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrumps tour Taj Mahal to cap off first day in India The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate Blagojevich heaps praise on Trump after release from prison MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE's son-in-law and senior adviser, hindered his ability to discuss with the president State Department policy on major foreign affairs issues.

A committee aid in a statement to The Hill later disputed the characterization of those discussions. 

“The tone and facts of yesterday’s meeting have been completely mischaracterized in the media and what’s been reported does not match Tillerson’s own words. We believe Tillerson’s testimony best speaks for itself, and are hopeful that our Democrat Chairman will release the full transcript of the meeting to the public soon," the aid said.

Tillerson had a notoriously acrimonious relationship with Trump until he was fired in March 2018. The two repeatedly clashed on a litany of issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, and Tillerson once reportedly called the president a “moron.”

The former State Department chief has shirked the public spotlight since his dismissal, though he said at one rare appearance in December that the president made requests of him that would have been illegal.

“So often, the president would say here's what I want to do and here's how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, 'Mr. President, I understand what you want to do but you can't do it that way. It violates the law,’” Tillerson said at a cancer center fundraiser then.

Tillerson was deeply unpopular at the State Department during his time heading the agency, as many diplomats reportedly claimed he was too isolated and unwilling to take advice from subordinates. He previously served as the chief executive officer at Exxon Mobil before joining the Trump administration.