GOP Senators Raise Concerns About Potential Nominee’s Ties To Putin
Whether I choose him or not for “State”- Rex Tillerson, the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!
â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2016
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, the favorite to be nominated by President-elect Donald Trump for secretary of state, would be the first person with no government experience to serve as the nation’s chief diplomat.Â
Tillerson has spent his entire professional career working for ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, which he joined in 1975. However, Trump maintained on Sunday that Tillerson is qualified to serve as secretary of state in part because “he does massive deals in Russia.”Â
The president-elect made the comments in response to a question from Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who asked why it makes sense to appoint a business executive to lead the Department of State.Â
â€œWell, in his case, he’s much more than a business executive,” Trump said. “I mean, he’s a world-class player. Heâ€™s in charge of an oil company thatâ€™s pretty much double the size of his next serious competitor. Itâ€™s been a company thatâ€™s been unbelievably managed. And to me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company â€” not for himself â€” for the company.”
Tillerson has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in 2012 presented the Exxon CEO with theÂ Order of Friendship decoration, one of country’s highest civilian honors.
A day before Tillerson emerged as the favorite for secretary of state, The Washington Post reported on the CIA’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the presidential election to help Trump win.Â
Trump has dismissed the report as “ridiculous,” calling it another “excuse” by Democrats for his victory. However, Tillerson’s close ties to Russia are already drawing attention from Republican senators, casting doubt on whether he could be confirmed.Â
â€œI donâ€™t know the man much at all, but letâ€™s put it this way: If you received an award from the Kremlin, [an] Order of Friendship, then weâ€™re gonna have some talkinâ€™,â€ South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said, according to the Post. â€œWeâ€™ll have some questions. I donâ€™t want to prejudge the guy, but thatâ€™s a bit unnerving.â€
â€œI donâ€™t know what Mr. Tillersonâ€™s relationship with Vladimir Putin was, but Iâ€™ll tell you it is a matter of concern to me,â€ Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain said on Fox News onÂ Saturday.Â â€œIâ€™d have to examine it. You want to give the president of the United States the benefit of the doubt because the people have spoken. But Vladimir Putin is a thug, bully and a murderer, and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying.â€
Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio wrote on Twitter, “Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryofState.”Â
Being a “friend of Vladimir” is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState – MR
â€” Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 11, 2016
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Secret Service Agents Confirm Details Hutchinson Shared About Trump Demanding to Be Taken to US Capitol Jan. 6
Secret Service agents are coming forward to say for months after the January 6 insurrection they heard stories very similar to the account former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said she was told by a Trump loyalist and White House aide. The right-wing pro-Trump propaganda machine latched on to parts of her story in which she said she was told the outgoing president lunged at an agent, and “grabbed at” the steering wheel of the presidential limo, which on January 6 was an SUV.
Trump “angrily demanded to go to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and berated his protective detail when he didn’t get his way,” CNN reports, citing “two Secret Service sources who say they heard about the incident from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential SUV where it occurred.”
That directly supports Hutchinson’s remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack in her surprise bombshell testimony Tuesday. “The sources tell CNN that stories circulated about the incident,” CNN adds, “in the months immediately afterward the US Capitol attack and before she testified this week.”
CNN also reports that “one source, a longtime Secret Service employee, told CNN that the agents relaying the story described Trump as ‘demanding’ and that the former President said something similar to: ‘I’m the f**king President of the United States, you can’t tell me what to do.’ The source said he originally heard that kind of language was used shortly after the incident.”
Hutchinson had told the Committee a Trump aide, Anthony Ornato, had told her Trump got into the presidential limo, which was not “The Beast,” as right-wing propagandists are claiming, but an SUV, and said: “I’m the f-ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!”
That closely echoes what agents told CNN.
“The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson also told the Committee, citing Ornato as her source. “Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going the Capitol.’”
“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson then added. “When Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicle.”
Watch CNN’s report from Friday below or at this link:
Sources say he “lunged toward the steering wheel in an effort to try and get the detail to take him to capitol hill” pic.twitter.com/QKI8ByLomV
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 1, 2022
Biden Blasts ‘Extremist’ Supreme Court and Promises to Protect Women Traveling Across State Lines to Obtain an Abortion
Calling the U.S. Supreme Court “extremist,” President Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable with nine Democratic governors Friday afternoon to discuss options in the wake of six conservative justices stripping the civil right of abortion from Americans. Biden promised he will protect women traveling across state lines to obtain an abortion and will protect women’s rights to FDA-approved abortion drugs.
The President, fresh off his NATO trip, called the Court overturning Roe v. Wade a “terrible extreme decision in my view, upending lives and impacting on the health and safety of millions of women.”
“I share the public outrage that this extremist court has committed to moving America backwards with fewer rights, less autonomy, and politicians invading the most personal decisions,” he added, echoing remarks he made in Madrid about the Court. The President warned that “if they expand on this decision” it will impact “men as well.”
“As I’ve said last week, this is not over. Last week, I announced two specific actions. First, if extremist governors try to block a woman from traveling from her state that prohibits her from seeking medical help she needs to a state that provides that care the federal government will act to protect her bedrock rights through the Attorney General’s Office. Second, if states try to block a woman from getting medication the FDA has already approved and has been available for more than 20 years, my administration will act and protect that woman’s right to that medication.”
The President warned that “ultimately, Congress is going to have to act to codify Roe into federal law. But as I said yesterday, the filibuster should not stand in the way of us being able to do that. But right now, we don’t have the votes from the Senate to change the filibuster on them at the moment. That means we need two more votes.”
“The choice is clear: either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe or Republicans who will elect the House and Senate will try to ban abortions nationwide. Nationwide. This is going to go one way or the other after November. So let’s remember, the reasoning of this decision has an impact much beyond Roe and to the right to privacy more generally. Justice Thomas himself said that under the reasoning of this decision that the court should reconsider marriage equality and contraception and there’s a lot at stake here.”
Watch the president below or at this link:
Pres. Biden said Congress needs to act to codify Roe v. Wade into law but that “right now, we don’t have the votes in the Senate to change the filibuster.”
“We either elect federal senators who will codify Roe, or Republicans who will … try to ban abortions nationwide.” pic.twitter.com/TVsu2NqdnI
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 1, 2022
‘No Question’: Former Top FBI Official Says Trump World Statements Are ‘An Attempt to Intimidate a Witness’
Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi says the messages shared by Vice-Chair Liz Cheney during Tuesday’s bombshell hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack are “witness tampering.”
“There is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it,” Figliuzzi said on MSNBC Friday afternoon about statements now reportedly sent or said to Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Parts of those statements read: “He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you,” “As long as you stay on the team and do the right thing, you’ll stay in good graces,” and, “He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing.”
Figliuzzi said “there’s little doubt here” that those are examples of witness tampering.
“This is law school first year 101 Criminal Procedure. At the very least, DOJ now has enough to open a witness tampering investigation. We can talk about whether they would win or not, who did it or not, reasonable doubt or not, but there is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it. When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation.”
The Committee did not reveal who made those statements, but later reporting indicates Hutchinson conveyed both those messages to the Committee, suggesting she was the recipient.
On Thursday Politico reported that “Hutchinson told the committee she was contacted by an intermediary for Mark Meadows, according to a person familiar with her final deposition.” Meadows has since denied the allegation.
Pointing to that Politico article on Twitter, Figliuzzi on Thursday wrote: “This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman.”
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