Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent seven hours on Tuesday speaking with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and told them all about President Trump's shaky 2017 meeting in Hamburg with Russian President Vladimir Putin, committee aides told The Washington Post.
"We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted," one aide said. "There was a discrepancy in preparation, and it created an unequal footing." Tillerson said Trump believed it would be a brief meeting, with the men exchanging nothing more than pleasantries, but Putin was ready to discuss major issues, and they were together for two hours. Tillerson also shared that he thinks the U.S. needs to do more to push back against Russia on the global stage, the Post reports.
Tillerson was invited to speak privately to a bipartisan group of lawmakers by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). Tillerson, who was fired in March 2018, was careful not to insult Trump, a committee aide told the Post, but he made it clear that he and the president do not have the same "value system." When asked to describe Trump's values, the aide said Tillerson replied, "'I cannot.' Just as matter of fact, he stated that he couldn't or wouldn't unpack the president's values for us." Catherine Garcia