Top candidate for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO, has strong ties to Russia
Rex Tillerson is the leading candidate according to a Trump transition official.
Trump met Tillerson on Tuesday and may talk to him again over the weekend, the official said. Trump appears to be in the final days of deliberations over his top diplomat with an announcement possible next week.
Tillerson’s favored status was revealed as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani formally withdrew from consideration for secretary of state…
Should Tillerson be nominated, his business ties, too, will come under scrutiny. Exxon Mobil has operations in more than 50 countries and boasts that it explores for oil and natural gas on six continents.
In 2011, Exxon Mobil signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia’s largest state-owned oil company, for joint oil exploration and production. Since then, the companies have formed 10 joint ventures for projects in Russia.
In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson his nation’s Order of Friendship.
But U.S. sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Crimea cost Exxon Mobil dearly, forcing it to scrap some projects and costing it at least $1 billion in losses. Tillerson has been a vocal critic of the sanctions.