January 12, 2017 (Windy Hill Beach) — Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State was criticized on the Senate floor yesterday for his failure to voice support for existing US sanctions against Russia. Here’s an excerpt from Sen. Schumer’s floor speech:
Unfortunately, this morning’s Cabinet hearing on Mr. Tillerson’s nomination is a very troubling sign of things to come. In one breath, Mr. Tillerson said that the invasion of Crimea is a violation of international law, and in the next, amazingly enough, he declined to commit to maintaining the existing sanctions regime against Russia. He said he wants to get classified briefings first and then consult with the President-elect. But I remind the country, as my friend the Senator from Florida, Mr. Rubio, from across the aisle, did, that these sanctions are a result of past crimes. We don’t need a classified briefing to know what Russia has done in the past. To duck the question and to refuse to commit to continuing these sanctions is tantamount to sweeping Russia’s flouting of international laws under the rug. It sort of says: Go ahead, interfere in our elections again; nothing will happen to you. It says the same to China and Iran or to any other country that might try to hack… If Mr. Tillerson cannot even say that he will support the existing sanctions, what kind of Secretary of State will he be? I am worried.