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It seems almost poetic that while Donald Trump is in Osaka having after-sex cigarettes with Vladimir Putin, we are reading former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's voluntary testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. News has been trickling out about that hearing ever since it happened in May, and now that we have a transcript, we can report that, OH BOY, it's an interesting read. SPOILER: the Trump administration was an absolute shitshow of incompetence during Tillerson's tenure, and it still is, so at least some things haven't changed in Trump's 'Murica.

Tillerson comes across as somebody who gives at least some fucks about the State Department and has the utmost respect for the career people he worked with, but unfortunately, as the former Exxon CEO, he also looked at his job like a CEO, instead of like a public servant, which is one of the problems with the GOP obsession with "WE NEED A BID-NESS-MAN TO COME IN AND FIX THIS SHIT UP RIGHT!" Governments are very different from businesses, and therefore should be run differently. Tillerson seemed very focused from the get-go on restructuring and right-sizing things at State, plans that didn't really go all that well. But, you know, "CEO." He said when he got there, he was frustrated that many personnel didn't even know what their authorities were, saying, "I thought: This is nuts. I mean, this is crazy. You couldn't run a corner gas station that way."

But Seriously, About President Shithole ...


Did Rex Tillerson confirm or deny that he called Trump a "fucking moron"? No he did not, which means it's still obviously true. Did he stand by his assertion that Trump is an idiot who doesn't read shit, is undisciplined, and like such as? Yes, but he said he didn't mean it "pejorative." (It's pejorative by its very nature.)

Tillerson stated that when he first met Trump, he didn't want to enter through the "gold-gilded lobby" of Trump Tower, because UGH, right? We wouldn't either, Secretary Tillerson, that place is gauche. Also, he had literally no idea he was going to be offered the secretary of State position, which is interesting, since rumor has it Trump wanted Mitt Romney for the job, and the Russians put the kibosh on that nice and sweet. To Tillerson's knowledge, Trump was very publicly interviewing people for the secretary of State position, so he was absolutely stunned when he went in and Trump just gave it to him. Isn't that just odd?

Tillerson testified that once confirmed, he was assured he would be able to name whomever he wanted to fill positions in the State Department, but it didn't go down that way, because the White House kept rejecting his picks. For good reasons? "Not from my perspective." We imagine some of that would be Republicans who had opposed Trump, because Trump has thin skin, and whaddaya know, on the very next page of the transcript, Tillerson said people who signed a "Never Trump" letter were disqualified. Or if they had tweeted something that hurt Trump's delicate feelings, because Trump is a very big man. Or if their wife or husband voted for Hillary. You know, normal presidential reasons.

Tillerson said he was a bit surprised by that, but it happened early and often, so WHEEEEE, welcome to the shitshow, Rex! Nobody here is qualified to be doing a damn fucking thing they're doing! Tillerson added that because of this, he never really got on track with staffing at the State Department, and we guess it's even more hollowed out under Secretary JesusDeliverance McGileadFucker, so that's awesome.

He also confirmed he was the one who killed the press access to State, and says the White House did not order him to do that, so fuck him for that.

Russhur, That Thing With Trump And Russhur ...

Yes, let's talk about Russia! Bunch of things to note here!

First of all, Tillerson does not remember, per the Mueller Report, receiving a so-called "reconciliation plan" during the transition or soon after for Russia and the US (translation: sanctions relief!) from Jared Kushner, who reportedly got it from Kirill Dmitriev, the Russian head of the sovereign wealth fund who met with Erik Prince in the Seychelles. But hey, maybe Tillerson did not need that kind of guidance, since he got the Order of Friendship from Putin and, according to his testimony, has been knowin' Putin since 1999, when Putin became acting president of Russia and began to seize power. (Tillerson also said he shared in his first meeting ever with Trump, when he was interviewing and didn't know it, that US sanctions on Russia were very bad for Europe.)

So that's a thing.

But since Trump is currently meeting with Putin, let's chat about Tillerson's experience with those meetings. Trump may be loath to acknowledge that he's only in office because Russia helped put him there, but Rex Tillerson, in his first meeting with Vladimir Putin in April of 2017, was not afraid to say it to Putin's face.

Tillerson said he told Putin that he doesn't think Russia really "accomplished much" by interfering (DISAGREE), but that he wasn't surprised when Putin didn't immediately admit it or say he was sorry for ratfucking our election. Compare to Donald Trump, who falls over like a trusting puppy dog when Putin says Russia didn't interfere, even though they both absolutely know Russia did, and that the original sin kompromat Putin has on Trump is that Trump wouldn't be president without him.

Q. Did you believe those denials?

A. Of course not.

Tillerson also talked about Trump's first meeting with Putin, in Hamburg at the 2017 G20, the one where Trump reportedly confiscated the translator's notes and stuck them inside his anal glands during what we imagine was some sort of temper tantrum. Does Tillerson remember that? Nope! But hey, at least Tillerson was in the room for that one!

It was supposed to be a very short meet and greet, which is why they didn't feel the need to have a bunch of people present. Of course, the meeting went MUCH longer than planned. Tillerson and his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had agreed that they wanted to put one thing on the table between Trump and Putin, from a list they had come up with of "irritants" to the US-Russia relationship, so they could say "Hey, we are going to work together on something!" Tillerson said part of why the meeting went so long was that Putin came in extremely damn prepared. Trump? Hahahahaha, Trump doesn't read.

The Washington Post offers an expert's opinion on why this is so damned bad for America:

"Putin is a very nimble adversary who's been at this for 20 years now," said Andrew Weiss, a Russia scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "The Hamburg meeting sounds like it was one of Putin's wildest dreams: a freewheeling backroom-style conversation with a U.S. president."

Yikes.

Congressional investigators also asked Tillerson a lot of questions about what happened in the Oval Office in May 2017, the day after Trump fired James Comey to criminally obstruct the Russia investigation, when Trump leaked code word level intel from the Israelis to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, and also told them the pressure had been taken off, because he had fired that fuckin' crazy FBI guy.

Unfortunately, we can't tell you what Tillerson had to say about that, because it's all REDACTED.

It's Pronounced 'Cutter,' Mr. President. (Tillerson Should Have Told Trump That, Probably.)

Another very interesting section of Tillerson's testimony comes when congressional counsel starts asking him about the events leading up to and associated with the 2017 blockade of Qatar, our ally, where CENTCOM is located. (Go back and read this piece from Liz to catch up.) Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have had some issues with Qatar for a while now, but theoretically the US should be pretty neutral in all of that. But not under Trump and his boy wonder Jared Kushner, who has slumber parties with the Saudi crown prince! Remember, of course, that the crown princes of both Saudi Arabia AND the UAE wanted to help ratfuck the election for Trump, though they were (allegedly) denied the privilege.

Anyway, the Saudis and the Emiratis were trying all kinds of stuff to help turn the US against Qatar, and in the Trump administration, they found a lot of avenues to do that. Unregistered foreign lobbyists, princes using Jared as the useful idiot he is, LOTS OF STUFF. (Seriously, just go back and read Liz's piece, we don't want to type it all right now.)

What really comes through in Tillerson's testimony is just how much he was kept out of the loop from whatever scheming shit Trump and company were up to. He was the secretary of State, and the former head of Exxon. You'd think (???) they might want him in the room on Middle Eastern stuff, if only to give it the slightest veneer of legitimacy? But NAH, fuck that.

For instance, did Tillerson know we were going to turn on Qatar and call them enemy, even though CENTCOM is there? "I was surprised." Did he know about Jared's slumber parties with Mohammad bin Salman? Nah. Did he know that, on May 20, 2017, just before Trump's big orb-fondling summit in Saudi Arabia, Jared and Steve Bannon had a private dinner with the princes where the princes informed them that Qatar was the enemy now and it was about to be blockade-thirty? Nah.

Q. What's your reaction to a meeting of that sort having taken place without your knowledge? [...]

A. It makes me angry. [...] Because I didn't have a say. The State Department's views were never expressed.

Yikes. Tillerson literally found out about that dinner during this congressional testimony last month. And he said the day after that dinner, things were very weird between the Qataris and everyone else, and that he thought it was weird at the time. Oh well, why should the secretary of State be looped in on something like that?

And that wasn't an isolated incident, either. From there, the conversation went directly into what it was like to have Ivanka and Prince Boy Wonder working for Daddy with improper security clearances, trotting around the globe like they own the place.

Anyway, after the Saudi summit, on May 23, 2017, there was an event at a wingnut DC think tank called the Hudson Institute about how Qatar is the enemy now, organized by Elliott Broidy (former RNC finance co-chair) and funded by George Nader (pedophile who was the conduit between Erik Prince and the Russians, at least for a certain amount of time just before the inauguration, as detailed in the Mueller Report), because Broidy's private military outfit Circinus was working for the Saudis and the Emiratis, OH WOULD YOU JUST GO BACK AND READ LIZ'S PIECE?

Point is, did the secretary of State know about any of this? Nah.

Did he know Jared Kushner's family was at that very time hitting up the Qataris to bail out his family company's building at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and that the Qataris had recently told them to fuck off, which makes it kinda weird that a month and a half later, Trump was calling Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism and supporting the Saudi blockade against the country, which is our ally? Nah.

The Saudi blockade of Qatar began in June of 2017, weeks after the Saudi summit, because why not sure fuck it. Did the Saudis or Emiratis tell Tillerson that was coming? Nah. But Jared and Steve Bannon knew, we guess, so it's all fine!

Did Tillerson know Trump was going to publicly accuse Qatar of being a state sponsor of terrorism on Twitter? Nah. He had to try to "unpack and repair" things after Trump did that, so that sounds fun. Oh yeah, and why did Trump say that? At this point, Tillerson says, "the actual actions [of Qatar] [...] were very different from what had been said to others, to the President in particular." In other words, people were whispering in President Idiotfuck's ears and he believed whatever they said, because he's an idiot.

This isn't related to Qatar, but again with Jared Kushner doing shit out of school and not telling Tillerson, one time Tillerson went to a restaurant and the foreign secretary of Mexico was there and the owner was like "Oh Mr. Tillerson you should go say hi!" and so he did and UH OH, there was the foreign secretary, Lady and the Tramping with Jared Kushner, and the foreign secretary looked very 'barrassed when Tillerson caught them in the act.

TILLERSON: I said: Welcome to Washington. And I said: I don't want to interrupt what y'all are doing. And I said: Give me a call next time you're coming to town.

Again, we say YIKES. (For the record, Tillerson said the foreign secretary of Mexico was shocked when he found out State wasn't looped in on what he and Jared were working on. He just assumed American government still functioned.)

Did Tillerson ever try to get Jared to fucking behave with this shit? He did. Jared would say he would "try to do better."

Jared would not do better.

Is That The End Of This Very Long Friday Afternoon Post?

Yeah, bye, have OPEN THREAD.

[transcript]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.

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