Tillerson Still Putting Russia First in Opposition to Bipartisan Sanctions

Today Secretary Rex Tillerson continued to put the interests of Russia and Vladimir Putin first when he argued against new bipartisan sanctions that have been introduced in the Senate. Tillerson called the legislation “ill-timed” earlier today, a sentiment that aligns with his history of supported pro-Russia policies and those of his former employer, ExxonMobil.  In fact, earlier this spring, ExxonMobil asked for a waiver allowing them to ignore current Russian sanctions and continue a multi-billion dollar deal with Russia’s state owned oil giant Rosneft that began under Tillerson’s watch.  Exxon must meet certain benchmarks by the end of the year for the deal to survive, which new sanctions would make it more difficult for them to reach.  Additionally, Tillerson has a long-standing relationship with Vladimir Putin, who awarded him with the Order of Friendship medal.

Watch Tillerson refuse to endorse the Russia sanctions bill here.

“For an administration […]

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Diplomacy Missing In Action

Never before has the State Department withheld its daily press briefings – not even for a week – but Rex Tillerson doesn’t seem to care. These press briefings are watched by allies around the world and inform global partners on where the U.S. stands on key issues. Today, American Bridge is launching Diplomacy Missing In Action, a website that tracks how long it’s been since the State Department held a daily briefing.

“Rex Tillerson’s State Department has not held one of its daily press briefings in over a month, weakening American leadership around the world,” said American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh. “Its time to remind Tillerson he isn’t a big oil ceo any more, he works for the American people and they are being denied daily accountability and transparency from our nation’s top diplomat in an unprecedented way.”

Visit Diplomacy Missing In Action to track how […]

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Tillerson Ditches U.S. Press … Again

Following reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a press conference with the Saudi foreign minister but didn’t invite the U.S. press to attend, American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh released the following statement: 

“This is the third time Rex Tillerson has hidden from the American media – and as a result the American people. He is running the State Department in a way that will make Vladimir Putin proud, but threatens our core democratic principles by denying Americans the transparency and accountability they deserve.”

Politico-Tillerson holds a press conference without U.S. media
May 21, 2017

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a news conference with the Saudi foreign minister in Riyadh on Sunday, but he left the American media behind.

State Department spokesperson R.C. Hammond said Tillerson — who was traveling with Donald Trump on his first foreign trip as president — was […]

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A Guide to Rex Tillerson’s Deep Ties to Vladimir Putin and Russia

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to meet with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, American Bridge is today releasing a new report highlighting his alarmingly cozy ties to Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials. Tillerson’s meeting takes place against the backdrop of Russia meddling in the 2016 election and Russian complicity in the Assad regime’s use chemical weapons against its own citizens in Syria.

Tillerson has deep ties to Russia including well-documented relationships with Vladimir Putin, who awarded him with the Order of Friendship, and Igor Sechin, the head of the state-owned oil company Rosneft, who is also known as Putin’s right-hand man and “one of the most feared men in Russia.” As CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson also made millions off of deals with the Russian government and when Tillerson was nominated to be Secretary of State, Russia praised Trump’s decision.

Even before Tillerson arrived in Moscow, […]

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The Curious Case of Rex Tillerson

In response to reports that Jared Kushner traveled to Iraq this weekend, American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh released the following statement:

“What exactly is Secretary Tillerson doing on a day to day basis? To date it looks like the biggest impact he has had on policy was when the White House plagiarized his former employer, ExxonMobil, to sing the oil giant’s praises. Tillerson doesn’t seem to recognize that he’s supposed to be the country’s top diplomat, not big oil’s top lobbyist.”

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Spicer Questions: Gorsuch Day 2, FBI Bombshell Aftermath Edition

Some have called yesterday the worst day of the Trump presidency.

American Bridge Vice President Shripal Shah disagrees. He says “The worst is yet to come,” and calls on White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to answer the following questions at today’s briefing:

1. Donald Trump did not use the words “FBI,” “Comey,” “Russia,” or “investigation” at his rally in Louisville yesterday. Was he following the advice of his attorneys because he is a target of the FBI investigation?

2. Did Donald Trump employ his litmus test of overturning Roe v. Wade to select Judge Gorsuch?

3. Doesn’t Rex Tillerson’s decision to skip his first scheduled NATO meeting in Brussels while going to Moscow send the exact wrong signal that the Trump administration is carrying water for Vladimir Putin?

4. Has Ivanka Trump been using a White House email address for her work on behalf of her father’s administration?

5. Will the White House guarantee any […]

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Tillerson Skips Out on NATO Allies, Assures Kremlin that Russia Trip Still a Go

Just hours after FBI Director James Comey noted that a strong NATO “encircles and threatens” Russia, the State Department announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip his first meeting with NATO foreign ministers but will visit Russia. In response to the unprecedented move, American Bridge President Jessica Mackler released the following statement:

“It’s unprecedented for the Secretary of State to skip a meeting with NATO allies, while making the extra effort to assure the Kremlin that Rex Tillerson won’t be missing his diplomatic trip to Russia in May. This only confirms our worst fears that the Trump administration values Russian interests too highly at the expense our own national security. Both Tillerson and Donald Trump have praised Vladimir Putin’s leadership, and by traveling to Russia but skipping a meeting with NATO, they’re sending a dangerous message to our allies around the world about their reckless allegiances and priorities.”

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ICYMI: Tillerson: ‘I’m not a big media press access person’

“Rex Tillerson isn’t a big media person like Michael Flynn wasn’t a big disclose your financial ties to Russia person.  Reporters don’t travel with the Secretary of State to boost their ego, they do it because the Secretary of State works for the American people and they have a right to know what he or she is doing on their behalf. You aren’t an unaccountable big oil CEO anymore Mr. Tillerson, time to shape up,” said American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh. 

Key Points: 
 

Tillerson wouldn’t commit to bringing a pool reporter on future trips, saying it would be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on his goals.

“I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it. …  doing daily availability, I don’t have this appetite or hunger to be that.” [said Tillerson]

 
 
The Hill: Tillerson: ‘I’m not a big media press access person’

BY ELLIOT SMILOWITZ, 3/18/17

Secretary of State […]

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Tillerson Denies U.S. Networks Access to Tour of DMZ

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied U.S. networks access to cover his tour of the DMZ, instead only allowing Fox News to cover the event per pool report. In response American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh released the following statement:

“This is a principal example of Rex Tillerson ripping a page out of the Vladimir Putin playbook and denying Americans accountability and transparency. The public deserves to know how our chief diplomat plans to address North Korea’s threats to the region’s stability, especially after Tillerson warned that ‘all options are on the table.’ Less than two months on the job and Tillerson is failing the American people.”

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State Department Can’t Explain Who Decided to Block Reporters from Tillerson’s Asia Trip

As Rex Tillerson is coming under fire for refusing to take U.S. press with him on his first trip to Asia, the State Department is now offering conflicting explanations. Yesterday, State department spokesman Mark Toner said it was Tillerson’s decision to abandon the State Department press corp, but today Toner reversed himself and said Tillerson doesn’t make decisions on “that level.” American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh released the following statement in response:

“Either Rex Tillerson decided to block American reporters from traveling with him or he didn’t – which is it? Denying press access is denying Americans transparency; the public deserves to know how our chief diplomat plans to address North Korea’s threats to the region’s stability, especially when you consider the national security consequences.

“Tillerson isn’t even two months into the job and he’s already stealing from the Putin playbook. Denying Americans transparency and accountability cannot continue.”

Yesterday:  “And, you know, this is the Secretary’s […]

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