Sen. Marco Rubio held nothing back when questioning Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nominee.
Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, sat for a day of confirmation hearings as Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State and Marco Rubio was there for it. Rubio started by asking Tillerson questions about the ongoing debate on cyberattacks and hacking that the CIA, FBI, and NSA have linked to Russia.
Rubio then asked if Tillerson would be able to detach his personal interests and business relations if Congress demands sanctions against a foreign leader. Tillerson did not give a direct answer to either question, saying he needed more information before he could make a decision.
The confirmation really got heated when the Florida Senator dragged Tillerson over his clear and worrisome ties to Russia and Vladamir Putin. Rubio, who is part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that questioned Trump’s pick, made it clear that he was not satisfied with Tillerson’s answers when questioned about Russia and their actions against foreign enemies.
This was America when Rubio started his intense takedown of Tillerson.
CREDIT: Alexander IRL / GIPHY
Rubio: Let me ask you this question. Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?
Tillerson: I would not use that term.
Rubio: Well, let me describe the situation in Aleppo and perhaps that will help you reach that conclusion. In Aleppo, Mr. Putin has directed his military to conduct a devastating campaign. He’s targeted schools, markets, not just assisted the Syrians in doing it, his military has targeted schools and markets and other civilian infrastructure. It’s resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. This is not the first time Mr. Putin was involved in campaigns of this kind. [Rubio continued to elaborate on the Chechen-Russian conflict that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Chechen civilians when Putin was the prime minister.]
Tillerson: Those are very, very serious charges to make and I would want to have much more information before reaching a conclusion. I understand there is a body of record in the public domain. I’m sure there’s a body of record in the classified domain. And I think in order to deal with a serious question like this. I want to be fully informed before advising the president.
Rubio: Well, I encourage you, there is so much information out there about what’s happened in Aleppo, leaving the Chechen issue aside, what happened there is clearly documented as well. There’s so much information out there. It should not be hard to say that Vladimir Putin’s military has conducted war crimes in Aleppo because it is never acceptable, you would agree, for a military to specifically target civilians, which is what’s happened there, through the Russian military. And I find it discouraging, your inability to cite that, which I think is globally accepted.