(Washington, DC) — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the first Senator to call for public hearings on Russian interference in the November elections, questioned President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing before the committee on Wednesday.
During her exchange with Tillerson, Sen. Shaheen pressed him for answers on his view of Russia’s authoritarian regime and President-elect Trump’s desire to improve relations with Russia. In response to Shaheen’s question on whether Tillerson would lift economic sanctions on Russia, Tillerson responded that he would “keep the status quo until we develop what our approach is going to be.”
Shaheen pointed to photos of three Russians who died after opposing President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, as reported by The New York Times, asking Tillerson whether he believes that a country that fails to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of journalists and opposition politicians is a country that values rule of law.
Shaheen also pushed Tillerson on his position on additional sanctions for Russia’s cyber intrusions in the U.S. Yesterday, Shaheen and a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, comprehensive sanctions legislation on Russia for their cyber intrusions, aggression, and destabilizing activities here in the United States and around the world. Shaheen has been a leader in Congress calling for Russian accountability for interference in the election.