Tags: James Baker | Rex Tillerson | Russia | Ties

James Baker: Tillerson's Ties With Putin Not a Concern

("CBS This Morning")

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Dec 2016 11:18 AM

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson's business ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin were necessary for his job as CEO of Exxon Mobil, but he'll likely have a different kind of outlook when he's in federal office, former Secretary of State James Baker said Wednesday.

"In getting close to Vladimir Putin, he was doing what he should have done for the shareholders of Exxon Mobil and that was make good deals, good agreements with foreign leaders, whether they were authoritarian or not," Baker, who served under President George H.W. Bush told "CBS This Morning."

"Now he's going to be sitting in the secretary of state's chair, and I guarantee you he's going to have a different outlook," Baker said. "He's going to be looking at formulating and implementing American foreign policy... in the national interest of this country."

Baker said he does not believe that there is a "heck of a lot of difference" between making a corporate deal or a diplomatic agreement with Russia.

"You know what your country's national interest is and what our principles and values are and you cut a deal," he said. "You don't give those away just because you have a relationship with the other side of the table."

Baker is now a partner in a law firm that has done business with both Exxon Mobil and some Russian gas companies. On Wednesday, he said he never worked on anything directly with Tillerson.

He also denied reports saying he personally pushed Trump to nominate Tillerson, as he believed either Tennessee Rep. Bob Corker or 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney were also good candidates.

Baker further defended Tillerson's record on climate change, saying he was one of the first of the nation's CEOs to acknowledge the effects of global warming.

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Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson's business ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin were necessary for his job as CEO of Exxon Mobil, but he'll likely have a different kind of outlook...
James Baker, Rex Tillerson, Russia, Ties
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2016-18-14
Wednesday, 14 Dec 2016 11:18 AM
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