During the Wednesday morning confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) challenged the President-elect’s pick for Secretary of State as to whether or not he believed Vladimir Putin should be labeled a “war criminal.”
“Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?” Rubio asked.
“I would not use that term,” Tillerson replied.
Rubio then went on to present Tillerson with the Russian president’s record when it comes to instances like Aleppo:
“He used battlefield weapons against civilians, and when it was all said and done, an estimated 300,000 civilians were killed and the city was completely destroyed,” Rubio said.
“So, based on all this information and what’s publicly in the record about what’s happened in Aleppo and the Russian military, you are still not prepared to say that Vladimir Putin has violated the rules of war and has conducted war crimes in Aleppo?”
Tillerson responded by saying he could not label Putin as a war criminal because he would want to be fully informed before reaching any conclusion:
“Those are very, very serious charges to make and I would want to have much more information before reaching a conclusion,” Tillerson said. “I understand that there is a body of record in the public domain—I’m sure there is a body of record in the classified domain. And I think that in order to deal with a serious question like this, I would want to be fully informed before advising the president.”
A video from the hearing can be seen below:
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