Sen. Cardin on Rex Tillerson: ‘I’m Not Going to Prejudge a Confirmation Process’

By Melanie Arter | December 12, 2016 | 2:32pm EST
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) (AP Photo)

( – Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” that he won’t “prejudge” the confirmation process for potential Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson.

“I'm not going to prejudge a confirmation process,” Cardin said when asked if Tillerson “might have confirmation problems” if he’s nominated.

Press reports named Tillerson, who is the head of ExxonMobil, as President-elect Donald Trump’s likely pick to head the State Department.

“I really do think the members of the Senate need to recognize our independent roles. This is a constitutional responsibility we have on advice and consent. And we need to make sure we do it in an objective way, but I can tell you, these are questions that are going to be asked, and we want to make sure that the next secretary of state is going to put America's interests before commercial interests,” said Cardin.

“Some of your Republican colleagues have expressed concern about Tillerson as a possible secretary of state because of his close ties with Vladimir Putin. He even got an award from Russia. What do you think?” Tapper asked.

“What I'm concerned is some of the statements he's made about the sanctions in Russia, that we should ease those. I am concerned about his relationship with Russia. We want to make sure that the secretary of state is a person who represents America, and, once again, Russia is not our friend. They have attacked our allies. They are attacking us through the Internet,” Cardin said.

“We need to make sure that the secretary of state has independence and will represent U.S. interests and are not concerned about commercial interests with Russia over what is our national security interests,” Cardin added.

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