Tillerson: Trump ‘So Often’ Suggested Policy That ‘Violates The Law’
As President Donald Trump spent most of Friday morning ranting and raving about his alleged misgivings about the Russia investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller, news also broke that a former official in his administration had some of the same criticisms the president was leveling.
Trump frequently suggests (often without real evidence) that the Russia inquiry is illegal, or a “witch hunt.” But former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a rare appearance this week that Trump’s own orders in the White House often crossed the line of legality, according to reporting from the Houston Chronicle.
The former Exxon Mobil CEO made the claims while speaking at an event in Texas on Thursday evening, “So often, the president would say here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way,” Tillerson explained. “It violates the law.”
Tillerson went on to explain that he would then tell the president what he could do — and that he and the administration “can go back to Congress and get this law changed,” he added.
Tillerson, in rare public appearance: "So often, the president would say here's what I want to do & here's how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can't do it that way. It violates the law” https://t.co/PndG0cnpPa
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) December 7, 2018
In the same evening, Tillerson went on to dispute Trump’s allegations against the Russia inquiry. The former head of the State Department made clear that he believes Russia did indeed interfere with our elections, a point that Trump often tries to repudiate or ignore.
Breaking with his former boss, Tillerson said that “there’s no question” Russia interfered with our elections in 2016, and that the Kremlin’s goal is to “undermine our confidence and undermine the world’s confidence in us.”
Tillerson also seemed to criticize the way that Trump disseminates his message to mass audiences — and turned the criticism onto Americans who seem to be happy with it.
“I will be honest with you, it troubles me that the American people seem to want to know so little about issues, that they are satisfied with 128 characters” to get their news or receive statements from the president, he added.
Tillerson was forced to resign in the spring of 2018. At several points in his tenure, reports of his criticisms of the president frequently reached the press, including one instance where he called Trump a “f—ing moron.”