President-Elect Donald Trump has made his pick for Secretary of State. NBC News has learned Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson has been offered the job.
Tillerson is already drawing fire from Democrats and Republicans for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“To give Trump credit, he said he was going to try and surround himself with really successful people who did well and what do we find? CEO’s, people at the top of their profession,” Republican strategist Rich Galen said.
Tillerson was his company’s liaison to the Kremlin and has been awarded Russia’s “Order of Friendship.”
NBC’s Kasie Hunt asked Republican senator John McCain for his thoughts on the pick.
“I believe that Vladimir Putin is a thug, and a bully, and a murderer and I believe that the relationship between Mr. Tillerson and Vladimir Putin needs to be examined,” McCain said.
This comes just a few hours after the Washington Post reported the CIA believes Russia interfered in the presidential election, hacking and leaking Democratic party documents, not just to cause chaos, but to actively help Trump win.
“So you’re looking ahead to an early part of the Trump presidency where Russia is very much going to dominate the conversation and certainly you can expect to hear a lot of tough questions at this confirmation hearing,” Washington Post Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand said.
The Trump team immediately slammed the CIA and said it’s time to “move on”.
President Obama has ordered the intelligence community to completely review allegations of Russian interference in the election. It’s due by the time Donald Trump is inaugurated.
Several members of congress are calling for a separate bipartisan investigation.