- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sen. Bob Corker on Wednesday praised ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, while also saying that people are going to want to hear more details about how Mr. Tillerson sees the United States’ relationship with Russia.

Mr. Corker, Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Mr. Tillerson an “incredible global leader.”

“He’s a guy that exudes confidence and competence,” Mr. Corker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “So he’s going to come into it with that, and people … I think are going to be very comforted with his competence.”

“Look, he’s going to be up under the hood helping direct our foreign policy. It’s going to be Trump’s foreign policy, but he’s going to be one of the few people sitting at the table helping direct that, and I think people want to hear how he views our relationship with Russia,” he said.

Mr. Tillerson has close business ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Corker, whose name had been mentioned as a potential secretary of state pick, said he’s not sure about recent reports that Russia interfered in the presidential election to boost Mr. Trump, citing conflicting opinions within various intelligence agencies.

“Look, we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he said. “They caused the American people to question the integrity of the electoral process here in our country. That is a win for an autocrat that doesn’t have real elections.”

“He’s already had a victory,” Mr. Corker said, referring to Mr. Putin. “As to whether he was trying to tilt it in one direction or the other, we’re going to find out, and my guess is other committees will be doing the same.”

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