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 TillersonSteve Schmidt: 'Overwhelming chance that Trump will dump Pence' for Haley Nikki Haley: Trump 'truthful' in 'every instance that I dealt with him' Tillerson denies Haley's claims of taking actions to undermine Trump 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: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation House Democrats pull subpoena for ex-Trump national security official MORE (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse Republicans add Hunter Biden, whistleblower to impeachment hearing witness wish list Trump: Whistleblower 'must come forward' House approves Turkey sanctions in rare bipartisan rebuke of Trump 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 KushnerOvernight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Bolton suggests Trump's Turkey policy motivated by personal, financial interest: NBC In new North Korea talks, 'achievable' is the watchword MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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.