By Hanaa Rifaey
Up today on the cabinet hearing docket is Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, former chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. In light of the news reports Tuesday night regarding Trump + Russia, this hearing could not be more timely.
Before we get to know Tillerson, let’s step to the side for a moment to talk about the revelations. We know the U.S. intelligence community found them substantial enough that President Obama and Trump were briefed about the document on Friday. We also know that a lot of it is unverified. While there’s some hilarious potentially compromising information within the leaks (see what I did there????), do not let this distract you from the bigger verified issues at hand.
There is a lot of verified information that we should remain focused on pushing Congress to investigate, question, and deny:
- Russia possessed and released information damaging to one candidate (HRC) while withholding research about the other (DJT) in order to influence the election’s outcome.
- The President-Elect has yet to release his tax returns, making it impossible to know all of his potential conflicts of interest.
- The President-Elect has so far refused to divest from any of his companies, making it clear that there are countless conflicts of interest (including his hotel here in DC, leased from the federal government).
- The President-Elect has appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to the White House, likely in violation of nepotism laws.
- The President-Elect’s Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, is the poster-boy for white nationalists.
And the list goes on.
Now, back to the matter at hand. Rex Tillerson, our potential next Secretary of State.
In light of everything, the number one thing to know is that he is a friend of Putin and Russia. Literally. In 2013, he was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship, which “reward[s] foreign nationals whose work, deeds and efforts were aimed at the betterment of relations with the Russian Federation and its people.” This work includes drilling in the Russian Arctic, until U.S. sanctions were put in place in 2014. Under Trump and Tillerson, sanctions against Russia would likely be lifted.
#fiveminutes action: Call your Senators and ask them to block Tillerson.