Judy Woodruff of PBS Newshour asked Tillerson at an event in Texas what he would have done if – when he was Secretary of State – US military aid to Ukraine had been made dependent on the initiation of a political investigation House democrats accuse Trump of to have done this.
"I would rather not answer a hypothesis on something that is so visible in today's hearings," he said initially.
When Woodruff pressed him, he replied, "Clearly it is wrong to ask for personal favors and to use assets of the United States as collateral."
"There are simply no two options, so if you seek personal gain and use American foreign aid or American weapons or influence, that's wrong." Tillerson continued. "And I think everyone understands that."
Tillerson appears to have prevented some potentially problematic deals initiated by those later deemed pivotal to the Ukraine saga, a meeting of the Oval Office in 2017 with Trump to urge Tillerson, the then Secretary of State, one Assisting a prisoner exchange to clarify the Ministry of Justice's persecution of a Turkish entrepreneur accused of violating Iran sanctions, a person briefed at the meeting told CNN. After the meeting, Tillerson mentioned the discussion with then Chief of Staff John Kelly, who did not attend the meeting and stated that it was a deal he could not support.