Senate Democrat says he will oppose
Tillerson for State Department
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[January 23, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The most
senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Monday
he would not support President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of
state, Rex Tillerson.
Senator Ben Cardin said he was not persuaded to support Tillerson's
nomination even after the former Exxon Mobil chief executive spent an
hours-long hearing earlier this month seeking to assure lawmakers that
he was fit for the job.
Cardin said Tillerson should have described recent Russian and Syrian
military actions in the Middle East as "war crimes" when he was asked
about those countries during his conformation hearing.
"The power of the Secretary of State to call out wrong, to name and
shame, and to fight each day on behalf of the American people and
freedom-seeking people the world over is an enduring symbol," Cardin
said in a prepared statement.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has relied on Russian help to try to
suppress rebel opposition to his rule that sprang up in 2011.
During his Jan. 11 confirmation hearing, Tillerson deplored military
action in Syria but stopped short of calling Russian President Vladimir
Putin a war criminal.
Despite opposition from Democrats, Tillerson is expected to win
Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said in a statement
on Sunday they would vote to approve Tillerson despite their concerns
over his relationship with Putin.
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Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of
Exxon Mobil, testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee
confirmation hearing on his nomination to be U.S. secretary of state
in Washington, U.S. January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who grilled Tillerson during the
hearing, has not said yet how he will vote.
The committee is to vote on Tillerson later on Monday. A vote in the
full, Republican-controlled Senate is expected shortly afterward.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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