No 'clean slate' between the US and Russia, Tillerson says

Lucy Hill
May 16, 2017

Todd contemptuously insinuated that Tillerson would betray the country and the Constitution to protect President Trump while discussing the firing of FBI Director James Comey, an Obama appointee.

To watch Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with Rex Tillerson, tune in to "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "I think it's been well documented, it's pretty well understood the nature of that interference here and elsewhere", he said.

"I think terms like having a reset are overused", Tillerson said. And so that's my only line.

Tillerson said he didn't know why Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak was present at an Oval Office meeting this week between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "When I'm not clear on what his objectives are, we talk about it".

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

Tillerson echoed his earlier statements on bilateral ties, saying relations had fallen to "an all-time low point since the end of the Cold War, with a very low level of trust".

India, Pakistan should engage in direct dialogue: U.S. on Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution
Dr Faisal said spies do not have rights of counsellor access and India did not produce evidence against Jadhav in the court. He said India had at no point made any comment on the Muslim name of Jadhav on the passport seized from him.

The Republican senator wrote in a New York Times op-ed earlier this month that Tillerson's warning against "conditioning our foreign policy too heavily on values" told oppressed people the world over that the U.S. would not help them if doing so comes in conflict with moves to benefit USA interests. "But the President's committed, rightly so, and I'm committed with him as well to see if we can do something to put us on a better footing in our relationship with Russian Federation", said the top American diplomat.

"I have a great relationship with the President", he said. But I am devoted to helping the president achieve his objectives, helping him be successful.

However, "whether we can improve it or not remains to be seen", he added.

Asked why Kislyak's participation was not made public by the Trump administration, Tillerson said: "You'd have to put that question to the White House and the protocol people". "You can not reset. You can not erase the past". We don't dismiss any of them. He said the US could not simply look past the issue, and that problems were baked into the US-Russia relationship. "And there are many, many important areas which require our attention if we are to bring it back to a relationship that we believe is necessary for the security of the U.S.", he said. "We don't give anyone a free pass on any of them".

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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