Tillerson says he hasn't talked Russia policy with Trump

Tillerson says he hasn't talked Russia policy with Trump
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said he has not talked about the specifics of Russia policy with President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE.

Tillerson made the remark under questioning from Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap MORE (D-N.J.), who asked about Russian sanctions and its aggression during a confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Trump's nominee denounced many of Russia’s actions, like invading Crimea, some of its Syria bombing and its human rights record, coming out more strongly against the nation than Trump has.

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“For all these answers that you’ve given me, does the president-elect agree with you?” Menendez asked.

“The president-elect and I have not had the opportunity to discuss this specific issue or this specific area,” Tillerson said.

Menendez, surprised at Tillerson’s response, noted that Russia’s actions have been in the spotlight lately and near the top of America's diplomatic agenda, which is the chief concern of the secretary of State.

“I assume, to some degree, that you had some discussion about what it is that [Trump’s] world view is going to be in order to understand whether you would be willing to execute that on behalf of the person you are going to work for,” Menendez said.

Tillerson added that the two have spoken “in a broad construct and in terms of the principals that are going to guide” Russia policy, but not far beyond that.

“That’s pretty amazing,” the senator responded, giving a look of astonishment.