Russian interference in 2016 election has been 'well documented,' Tillerson says

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he is not anxious about his standing with President Donald Trump following Trump's firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday, April 12, 2017 that relations with Moscow are at a low point after meetings in Russian Federation that seemed to do little to bridge a deepening diplomatic divide over a chemical attack in Syria. "I understand what his objectives are", Washington's top diplomat told the show.

"I think it just speaks to a level of dysfunction at the State Department, in terms of at least the communications effort that I think is truly remarkable", Kirby said.

The president's decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey last week was the latest destabilizing jolt to a core institution of the US government.

"I make a distinction between values and policy", Tillerson said on Meet the Press.

Tillerson said Comey's firing did not cause him any concerns about his own degree of independence in carrying out his duties.

State Department officials were in the dark about a White House statement attributed to Tillerson and released Monday night, CNN said.

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Tillerson also said that there is wide agreement that it's not "healthy" for the world for the U.S. -Russia relationship to "remain at this low level".

"I have a great relationship with the President", he said.

But Tillerson reiterated his belief that those values should not determine foreign policy.

"Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state", he continued, "remember the meeting the same way and have said so".

Asked what repercussions the Russians should face for interfering in the USA election, Tillerson did not offer any specifics. "What I am shocked about is you're sitting down with the secretary of state ... and you've got a such a short period of time to ask really serious, important questions".

The best way to promote American values, Tillerson maintained, is to achieve U.S. "A policy has to be tailored to the individual situation".

"The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact the peace process", Tillerson said.

  • Megan Austin