Secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson repeatedly emphasized the importance of defeating the Islamic State and clamping down on "radical Islam" during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. The former ExxonMobil CEO, who identified defeating ISIS as key to "thwarting radical Islam," called Wednesday for a new congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS. "It is much more powerful when the U.S. shows up with everyone aligned," Tillerson said, in response to Sen. Jeff Flake's (R-Ariz.) statement that the U.S. does not currently have an AUMF for the conflict with ISIS. Tillerson also faced heavy questioning about his ties to Russia, and he broke with President-elect Donald Trump to unequivocally state that Russia's annexation of Crimea was illegal and to advocate for U.S. leaders to hold Russia "accountable" while remaining "clear-eyed about our relationship." In response to questions about his business ties, Tillerson vowed to recuse himself from matters directly involving ExxonMobil for a year, the period required by law, and after that consult his lawyers.
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