WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined MSNBC’s “Hardball” last night to discuss answers received in the confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson and share his views on future U.S.-Russian relations.
Excerpts from the interview:
Sen. Coons on how he will vote: "I haven't made up my mind yet, Chris. I have been reflecting on a number of answers he gave that were positive, but really different from what President-elect Trump has said, both in the campaign and in recent days. I've frankly been reflecting on if not Mr. Tillerson, who else might President-elect Trump chose. He conducted a sort of celebrity apprentice review process to come up with a nominee for Secretary of State and he seriously considered Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton, and I try to imagine how they would have fared in today's confirmation hearing."
Sen. Coons on why Russia is a focus of our foreign policy: "Because they carried out a cyber-attack on our election. Because they've been carrying out aggression against Ukraine and threatening our NATO allies in Europe, undermining our Western European allies, and have engaged in what, I think, also are war crimes in Syria. So it's a fairly assertive, aggressive Russia under Vladimir Putin."
Sen. Coons on possible alliance with Russia: "An alliance I think would be overstating it. What Mr. Tillerson said today, and I would agree with this point, is that Russia is our adversary, but there are certain areas where we could be partners: nuclear non-proliferation, fighting against terrorism, working to improve some of our relations with the rest of the world. I think we are going to face a very difficult menu for President-elect Trump. He's got problems from North Korea to the South China Sea, from global warming to the real challenges containing Iran, and I don't think there's going to be a lot of bandwidth for them to focus."