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 TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE.

Tillerson made the remark under questioning from Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWilliam Barr is right man for the times This week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid wall fight BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president 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.