Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Tillerson: We 'cannot reset' relations with Russian Federation

Tillerson: We 'cannot reset' relations with Russian Federation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said today that the Trump administration is not giving Russian Federation a "free pass" on interference in last year's US election. Can't start with a clean slate until maybe they either own up to what they did, or we punish them in a way that they're not going to do this again.

The former ExxonMobil CEO, who was decorated in 2013 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had said previously that the relationship between the two nuclear powers had hit its lowest point since the Soviet collapse in 1991. "You can not start with a clean state", Tillerson said.

One exception was Meet the Press, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared.

"America's values of freedom, of treatment of people, human dignity, freedom of expression throughout the world. serve as the boundaries as we develop our foreign policy approaches and our diplomatic efforts", Tillerson told Todd on Meet the Press. "We don't dismiss any of them".

Tillerson made those comments in response to a question from Todd about whether Comey's abrupt firing would "shake your concern" about how much independence Trump would give him. I think it's been well documented, it's pretty well understood, the nature of that interference, here and elsewhere. "And I think if we are successful in achieving our ultimate diplomatic and national security objectives, we will create the conditions for the advancement of freedom in countries all over the world". "When I'm not clear on what his objectives are, we talk about it".

Tillerson acknowledged that sour relations between Russian Federation and the USA are "not healthy for the world" or for US national security, but he was sober in his assessment of the future.

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Discussing Russia and the election has become something of a minefield for Trump's senior aides.

Trump fired Comey Tuesday in a move that sparked calls among some Democrats for a special prosecutor to be appointed in the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the USA presidential election.

The Trump administration has not budged on the issue of USA sanctions targeting Russian Federation over Ukraine, though Trump indicated during his campaign previous year that he would consider lifting the punitive measures.

The Russian envoy's presence at the meeting was not disclosed by the White House, but Russia's state-sponsored news agency, Tass, released photos of the encounter, which was closed to USA journalists.

Trump's presidency has been dogged by the Russian-meddling allegations and investigations by the FBI and congressional committees about contacts between his associates and Russian officials.

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