BIG NEWS

BIG NEWS

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s then nominee for Secretary of State, testifies during his confirmation hearing before Senate Foreign Relations Committee January 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Awkward Moment—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, as tensions appear to be running high between the U.S. and Russia over the use of chemical weapons by Russian-aligned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the ongoing congressional investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Putin and Tillerson go way back to when Rex was the CEO of Exxon, and they once worked so well together to advance their shared drilling interests in Siberia and the Arctic that Putin gave the Wichita Falls native a friendship award. But Wednesday’smeeting was not a friendly one. Even as late as Tillerson’s arrival in Moscow on Monday, it was uncertain whether he’d actually be able to meet with Putin. The two were finally scheduled to meet on Wednesday, but according to Politico, Putin made Tillerson wait for hours before agreeing to see him. They met behind closed doors for two hours, and apparently did not make much progress. “There is a low level of trust between our countries,” Tillerson said in a press conference after his meeting with Putin, according to the Washington Post. “The world’s two primary nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.” Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov both said in the press conference that Tillerson and Putin talked about a range of issues, including Syria, Ukraine, and North Korea. But not much ground was made on any of those subjects.