Trump picks Exxon chief Tillerson as secretary of state

President-elect Donald Trump announces Exxon Mobil Corp’s Rex Tillerson as his choice for secretary of state, praising the business leader as a successful international dealmaker who has led a global operation. Chris Dignam reports.

(CBS, UNRESTRICTED POOL) – Donald Trump officially nominating ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson Tuesday… setting the stage for a contentious Senate confirmation battle that will very likely focus on his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A press release sent out early Tuesday morning saying “As Secretary of State, he will QUOTE help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America’s security and standing in the world.”

No detail on what those misguided foreign policies are…but as head of the world’s largest energy company, Tillerson has opposed the trade sanctions the United States imposed on Russia after it invaded Crimea in 2014. Those sanctions lead to losses for ExxonMobil…because of deals it had signed with Russian companies.

Trump pointing to Tillerson’s QUOTE “second to none relationships with leaders all over the world.” Trump’s transition team also saying over the weekend Tillerson’s personal relationship with Putin was a selling point.

Three top GOP senators speaking out against Tillerson this week: John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, all questioning whether he would be the right man to face a regime the CIA says tried to tip the election to Trump.

The Kremlin on Monday perhaps not helping Tillerson’s cause — calling him “highly professional” – rare praise from a country that has clashed with the United States over Ukraine, Syria and cybersecurity.

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