Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State

  • 1999 Becomes president of Exxon Neftegas Limited, responsible for Exxon’s holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea. (ExxonMobil)
  • 2011 Negotiates a multi-billion dollar deal with Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant and run by second most powerful man in Russia, Igor Sechin. The deal gives Exxon access to 22% of the worlds undiscovered oil and gas deposits being exposed by a melting Russian Arctic shelf. (Politico)(arctic reserve analysis)
  • October 2011 Privately strikes a deal with the Kurdish state in Iraq to drill for oil, defying the U.S. State Department's "One Iraq" policy. The move causes a diplomatic scandal and the Exxon-Kurd contract has produced no oil as of December 2016. (Politico)
  • 2013 Awarded the Order of Friendship by President Putin for their contribution to developing in Russia’s energy sector. (WaPo)
  • 2014 After Russia invades Ukraine, he sends a deputy to execute another deal with Rosneft and Sechin that expands the Arctic access and opens more exploration in Russia. (Politico)
  • Fall 2014 Appears onstage with Igor Sechin for International Petroleum Week in Moscow. (Politico)
  • October 2016 Exxon loses $1 billion due to White House sanctions against Russia. (Oilprice)
  • As of December 2016, owns 600,000 shares of ExxonMobile and is owed 2 million shares which vest over the next ten years. (CNN)
  • 12/18/16 Reported through leaked documents that Tillerson was the long-time director of a US-Russian oil company based in the Carribean tax Haven of the Bahamas. (Guardian)
  • 1/10/17 Reported that he intends to defer taxes on $174 million of company shares, a possible serious violation of IRS rules. (NYT) He would do this by having ExxonMobil cancel the shares and move a pile of cash with roughly the same value into a newly created trust with him as beneficiary. Then the trust would invest the cash in Treasury securities and other permitted assets and make payments to him gradually over the next decade.
  • 1/11/17 Lies repeatedly at his Senate confirmation hearing to become Secretary of State, (ThinkProgress) including:
    • Claims ignorance on whether ExxonMobil lobbied for or against sanctions on Russia.
    • Claims ignorance about USA*Engage, an organization created to oppose U.S. sanctions, of which TIllerson was co-chair.
    • Testifies that he did not talk about any specific Russian issues when they met.
    • Claims ignorance on how Exxon used a foreign joint venture to skirt Iranian sanctions despite his company responding in detail to SEC on the issue.
    • Claims ignorance on whether Exxon kept funding disinformation on climate change after promising to stop.

 

As the Secretary of State of the U.S.

  • 1/12/17 China responds to Tillerson's suggestion that the U.S. should bar China from its South China Sea island installations, stating that any such attempt would force "a devastating confrontation" and both sides should "prepare for a military clash." (Time)  
  • 2/10/17 Trump promptly rejects Tillerson's choice of deputy, Elliott Abrams, for Abrams' previous criticism of Trump. (CNN)
  • February 2017 Within the first four weeks of Trump's administration, Secretary of State Tillerson has not been included in the following: (Politico)
    • Consultation on policy change regarding Palestinian statehood.
    • Consultation on putting Iran "on notice" for a ballistic missile test.
    • Meeting with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
    • Meeting with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.
    • Playing any role in the visit Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
    • Playing any role in the visit of British PM Theresa May.
    • Heading up the Europe reassurance tour, which is instead led by VP Mike Pence, Secretary of Defence Mattis and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.
    • High level White House discussions on Russia.
  • 3/3/17 Does not attend the State Department's annual presentation on human rights. (WaPo)
  • 3/8/17 Four Senate Democrats send a letter to Tillerson regarding concern that the State Department is at a "tipping point" wherein its marginalization and defunding will leave it decimated and useless. (Hill)
  • 3/14/17 New York AG reports that Tillerson used an alias email address under the pseudonym "Wayne Tracker" while at Exxon Mobil to send and receive information related to climate change and other matters between 2008 and 2015. (Time)
  • 3/18/17 Defends his decision to block reporters from traveling with him on his mission to Asia, stating "I'm not a big media press access person. I personally don't need it." Only one reporter is allowed to travel with the mission, a reporter from the conservative Independent Journal Review, a website partly owned by a top advisor to VP Mike Pence. (Guardian)
  • 3/21/17 Plans to skip his first meeting with NATO foreign ministers in April in order to meet with China's president iat Mar-a-Lago and then visit Russia later in the month. (Reuters) Then after rebuffing NATO's proposition to reschedule a meeting, proposes new dates for a NATO meeting. (Reuters)
  • 3/22/17 Says in an interview that his wife convinced him to accept the nomination for Secretary of State despite having no political experience and no interest in the job. (BBC)
  • 4/3/17 The State Department cuts off funding to a UN agency that works on maternal and reproductive health, a major blow to women worldwide. The US was UNFPA's third-largest donor, contributing $75 million to its operations (BuzzFeed)
  • 5/17/17 A memo written for Tillerson by policy aide Brian Hook details a certain way of diplomacy, including: "Allies should be treated differently—and better—than adversaries. Otherwise, we end up with more adversaries, and fewer allies." And that human rights should not stand as "obstacles" to achieving American interests. (Politico)(the memo via Politico)
  • 5/27/17 Declines to carry on a 20-year tradition to host an event marking Islam's holy month of Ramadan. (Reuters)
  • 6/29/17 A former State Department official reports that Tillerson has stopped accepting all incoming foreign service officers, made a rule of firing three State employees for every one hire, blocked all lateral transfers in the department even if an office is short on personnel, and avoided the counsel of the traditional cadre of experts who would normally advise the Secretary. (Politico)
  • 7/19/17 Announces that he will close the cybersecurity office of the State Department and fold it into a bureau focusing on economic issues. (Bloomberg)
  • 7/20/17 The U.S. Treasury Department levies a fine of $2 million on Exxon Mobil Corp for "reckless disregard" of U.S. sanctions on Russia in 2014, during the time in which Tillerson was Exxon's chief executive. (Reuters)
  • 7/25/17 Tillerson's office announces that he will be taking some time off, with reports indicating that he is frustrated with Trump and considering resigning. (CNN)
  • 8/1/17 Considers removing all mention of promoting democracy in the State Department's mission statement. (WaPo)
  • 8/2/17 Rejects $80 million allocated by Congress to fight terrorist propaganda and Russia disinformation. (Politico)
  • 8/27/17 Two top State Dept officials resign, continuing a trend that started in January 2017. (ForeignPolicy)
  • 10/5/17 Will not deny that he called Trump a "moron" at the Pentagon in the summer. (CNN)
  • 10/23/17 State Department revokes the visa of a top Putin critic and citizen of Britain while Putin simultaneously added him to the Interpol list. (Guardian)
  • 11/21/17 The U.S. votes against a U.N. resolution that condemns the glorification of Nazism, joining only Ukraine and Palau against the 131 countries in favor and 48 abstentions. (Independent)
  • 11/21/17 A dozen U.S. State Department officials formally accuse Tillerson of violating federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers after Tillerson excluded Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan from a list of offenders in the use of child soldiers. (Reuters)
  • 11/24/17 Members of the House Foreign Relations Committee express concern about the exodus of more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers from the State Department since January. (letter)(NYT)
  • 11/25/17 Aides for Tillerson have depleted the State Department's diversity by firing most of the department's leading African American and Latino diplomats and put a stop to most hiring, and offers a $25,000 incentive for diplomats to leave the department. (Hill)
  • 11/28/17 Announces that no high level diplomatic team is to be sent with Ivanka Trump on her trip to India because he does not want to bolster her profile in any way. The Global Entrepreneurship Summit had been attended by secretaries of state as well as the president in previous administrations. (CNN)
  • 11/27/17 Announces the intent to extend "extreme vetting" of visa applicant for three more years. (federalregister.gov)
  • 12/3/17 Announces the pullout from a UN-led Global Compact on Migration, which aims to protect the rights of migrants and helps them to resettle. (Hill)
  • 12/5/17 Tillerson receives distinctly cold treatment by European diplomats in Brussels in the wake of Trump's announcement that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel instead of Tel Aviv. (NYT)
  • 12/15/17 Says that North Korea must earn its way back to the negotiating table, negating a statement he made earlier in the week beckoning the rogue nation to a negotiation without any preconditions. (BBC)
  • 1/17/18 Has been instructing staff to print out every tweet by Trump and formulate new foreign policy based on those tweets. (VanityFair)
  • 1/28/18 Is reported that a growing number of State Department employees have hired attorneys and allege political retribution after having been put into dead-end positions because of their previous work on policies associated with President Obama and for being in offices that the Trump administration is looking to shut down. (CNN)
  • 2/6/18 In an interview with Fox News, says of Russian election meddling: "I don't know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt as well. The point is, if it's their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. We can take steps we can take but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it's very difficult to preempt it.” (FoxNews)
  • 3/1/18 [Resigned] Roberta Jacobson, Ambassador to Mexico. One of the country's most experienced Latin America diplomats, Jacobson quits during a fallout of Trump's administration and Mexico. (LATimes)
  • 3/9/18 [Resigned] John Feeley, Ambassador to Panama. Leaves office after writing a letter explaining that he cannot comfortably serve the Trump administration. (Newsweek)
  • 3/4/18 Is reported that the State Department has spent $0 of the $120 million it was granted to fight Russian election meddling, and none of the 23 analysts working in the department's Global Engagement Center speaks Russian. (NYT)
  • 3/13/18 Trump announces on Twitter that Tillerson is to be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo. (NYT) He was replaced within hours of stating that the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent in the U.K. is “a really egregious act” that appears to have “clearly” come from Russia. (NBC)
  • 4/18/18 In a candid interview after being fired from the State Department, admits that he didn't know he was supposed to fight to keep the State Department from being defunded and that he only realized the fact after it was too late. (NPR)