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Tillerson Says Kushner Froze Him Out

Transcript released of former secretary of state's comments about his tenure
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2019 5:03 PM CDT
King Abdullah of Jordan, left, looks on as Jared Kushner, right, talks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his wife, Renda St. Clair, during the National Prayer Breakfast in 2017.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – In six hours of conversation with representatives of a House committee, Rex Tillerson detailed his relationship with the White House while he was secretary of state. There were issues. Tillerson expressed disdain and anger at times, Politico reports, toward Jared Kushner. The presidential son-in-law and adviser generally operated on a track of his own, he said, not telling the State Department of his doings and sometimes meeting foreign leaders without Tillerson's knowledge. He once ran into Kushner with one at dinner in Washington. When Tillerson walked over to them, "I could see the color go out of the face of the foreign secretary of Mexico as I very—I smiled big, and I said: 'Welcome to Washington.'" The story was included in a redacted, 145-page transcript of the conversation Tillerson had with bipartisan representatives of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in May, per the Hill.

At another dinner in 2017, Arab nations told Kushner and Steve Bannon that they planned to cut diplomatic ties to Qatar. Tillerson was surprised when it happened, and he didn't know about the dinner until the House staff members told him, more than a year after he'd been ousted. "It makes me angry," Tillerson said. He also said he realized he needed to adjust to President Trump's style, which he said meant, for one thing, being concise because Trump "doesn’t like to read things, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of lots of things." The president was "very action oriented: Get it done, get it done, get it done. And so just sometimes you had to say: 'We can’t do that,'" Tillerson said. But Trump, he said, "never asked me to violate the law." (Read more Rex Tillerson stories.)

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