Rex Tillerson staked out positions on Russia today that sharply contrast with President-elect Donald Trump, who tapped the former CEO of ExxonMobil to be secretary of state.
Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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He told senators grilling him at his confirmation hearing that he found the U.S. intelligence community's recent report laying out accusations of Russian efforts to hack U.S. political groups to disrupt the 2016 election "troubling" and indicated that cyberbreaches and leaking of stolen email to undermine the democratic process indeed "were undertaken." Tillerson told Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio that it was "a fair assumption" that Russian President Vladimir Putin knew and authorized hacking involving U.S. political organizations.
Trump has expressed skepticism about those conclusions.
He also said he would have supported providing defensive arms to Ukraine after Moscow's seizure of Crimea and sanctions against the Russians imposed as a result, both policies at odds with previous statements by Trump.
Tillerson indicated, however, that at this time he would not describe Putin as a war criminal, citing a desire to review and reflect further on the information available.