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 says No. 2 State Dept. official could become next Russia envoy The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries State Dept. extends travel ban to North Korea 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 EngelNadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision Trump moves forward with billion F-16 sale to Taiwan Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulTrump moves forward with billion F-16 sale to Taiwan Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China 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 KushnerTrump allies say A$AP Rocky was supposed to thank him but his team stopped 'returning our text messages': report President tweets 'few work harder' than Ivanka, Jared PETA billboard in Baltimore calls Kushner a 'rich pest' MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future 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.