Speed Reads

'quite candidly'

John Kerry says there hasn't 'been a lot of high-level exchange' during the transition

When asked Tuesday how the transition from President Obama's State Department to President-elect Donald Trump's was going, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry was surprisingly candid. "It's going pretty smoothly because there's not an enormous amount of it," Kerry said during a discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace's Passing the Baton conference.

Though he has just 10 days left as secretary of state, Kerry admitted he has yet to meet his likely successor, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. He did note that with a "shift of parties and a complete tabula rasa," attention often shifts to internal proceedings and confirmation hearings, many of which — including Tillerson's — are slated for this week.

Still, Kerry said, the difference between his hand-off with Hillary Clinton in 2013 and his hand-off with Tillerson now is "like night and day." "There are some people who've been in the building for a period of time" Kerry said, "but, you know, quite candidly, I think there has not been a lot of high-level exchange at this point in time."