Tillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee

Tillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee
© Getty Images

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 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: 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.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse Dems introduce resolutions to block Trump's Saudi arms sales Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 KushnerFinancial disclosure form shows Ivanka Trump earned M from DC Trump hotel Financial disclosure form shows Ivanka Trump earned M from DC Trump hotel Kim Kardashian West joins Trump at White House event for ex-prisoners MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants 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.