The Senate Confirmation Hearings for Trump nominees have hit their second-day stride, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio went in hard with an aggressive grilling of Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson. Rubio’s well aware of Tillerson’s extremely close business ties with Russia during his tenure as ExxonMobil CEO. As with Rubio’s criticism of Republicans who celebrated WikiLeaks’ dumping of the Podesta emails, he also proved that not all Republicans are willing to fall in with Trump’s friendliness towards Russia.
In the above clip, the senator was forthright in his interrogation of Tillerson. First, he called Vladimir Putin a war criminal for attacks on civilians in Syria and wasn’t pleased that Tillerson didn’t agree. Then, Rubio dug into the many journalists who have died in Russia — some via a gunshot to the head — after reporting critically on Vladimir Putin. Tillerson’s responses were self-damning and won’t be easily forgotten. A few quotes:
Rubio: “Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?”
Tillerson: “I would not use that term.”
Rubio: “Are you aware people who oppose Putin wind up dead?”
Tillerson: “People who speak up are under threat … these things happen to them.”
Rubio: “None of this is classified, Mr Tillerson. These people are dead.”
Prior to Tuesday, the Washington Post tipped Rubio as one to watch today. He easily undid much of Tillerson’s opening statements with his grilling, and if anything keeps Tillerson from being confirmed, it may be this segment.
Is this the revenge of “Little Marco“? That’s one theory floating around…