Rex Tillerson said President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been working independently with powerful leaders around the world without coordinating with the State Department Leaving Tillerson out of the loop and in the dark on emerging US Policies and simmering geopolitical crises.
In a transcript of his testimony to the House's Foreign Affairs Committee, Tillerson thus described the challenge of briefing a president who does not read briefing papers and often got distracted by peripheral topics, noting he had to keep
"Tillerson told the House panel during a seven-hour session in May."
"I learned to conceal what I wanted to bring in front of him." He stood by his previous characterization that Trump does not dive deep into detail.
A few days ago, Tillerson said he was blindsided by Kushner's discussions with world leaders.
In one instance, Tillerson said that Tuson did not know what to do with Mexico's foreign secretary, Luis Videgaray, because he had to do so in the same Washington restaurant about.
"The owner of the restaurant. , , came around and said, "Oh, Mr. Secretary, you might be interested in knowing the foreign secretary of Mexico is sitting at a table near the back in case you want to go by and say hello to him," Tillerson said. "And so I did."
Tillerson said he saw the "color go out of the face" of the foreign secretary as he went into the room. "I said: Welcome to Washington. , , , Give me a call next time you're coming to town. "
In another instance, Tillerson explained in the Persian Gulf crisis in which key Arab allies severed ties with Qatar, another key. ally. Jim Mattis, and both were caught off guard.
"I was surprised," Tillerson said.
So he said he was not aware of meetings that had Kushner, Trump's former adviser Stephen K Bannon and the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. During the meeting, Arab leaders discussed their intention to impose a blockade on Qatar, though the White House later denied the prior knowledge of the plan.
"What's your reaction to a meeting that took place without your knowledge?" Tillerson was asked by committee staff.
"It makes me angry," Tillerson said. "Because I did not have a say. The State Department's views were never expressed. "
Tillerson said he asked Kushner to stop traveling overseas without consulting the State Department.
" On occasion the president's senior adviser would make trips abroad and. , , As he raised the issue, Kushner said he "would try to do better," recalled Tillerson.
Tillerson declined to answer questions about the sentiment that the president said "a much moron."
"We really should move on," Tillerson attorney Reg Brown said when asked about the report. Asked again, Brown said, "We're ready to move on."
Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO who tried and failed to change his position at the State Department, said he had started that many career diplomats had no
"I thought: This is nuts. I mean, this is crazy. "He said."
Tillerson spoke about a two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin about bilateral challenges, including election interference. Tillerson told Putin that Russia's intervention in the 2016 election created "huge challenges for us here in Washington." relations with Russia.
Tillerson said he had no idea what he was talking about.
He said Putin denied any Russian interference, a Tillerson did not believe.
"I was not expecting mea culpas. I was not expecting him to prostrate himself and say, you got me. But it's important, "Tillerson said.
" I've seen this guy a long time; I've dealt with him a long time; and one thing I know he respects the truth to him, "he said. Did he acknowledge that truth or not, that's his choice; but he respects people who speak. That's what he respects. "
During the briefing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Tillerson's tenure, the number of State Department press briefings was sharply curtailed, and fewer reporters were allowed to travel with him on his plane.
Tillerson said, "No," he responded when asked whether the White House had any role or reaction to it.
Tillerson, who he said he was not happy with his sentence, he said, "What are you doing?" Trump "letter. "It never did work smoothly," he said.
"And that spread pretty much in town. People started to understand that. Hey, you can take my name off the list of consideration. It is considered them, "he said.
Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.