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Tillerson: Russia must be held accountable

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Rex Tillerson

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump‘s nominee for secretary of state will say at his confirmation hearing Wednesday that Russia “must be held accountable for its actions,” according to excerpts of his remarks.

Rex Tillerson‘s big moment in the spotlight before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee comes as CNN reported Tuesday that US intelligence agencies are investigating reports that Russia collected sensitive and potentially compromising information about Trump’s personal and financial affairs.

The information, from a firm run by a former British intelligence operative, also indicated that throughout the campaign, Trump surrogates were in touch with intermediaries for the Russian government. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, became aware of the information in December and passed it to FBI Director James Comey that month.

Tillerson intends to address the US relationship with Moscow head on in his opening remarks.

“We must also be clear-eyed about our relationship with Russia,” Tillerson will say. “Russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests.”

Tillerson will also speak to NATO’s concerns about Putin.

“Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia,” Tillerson will say. “But it was in the absence of American leadership that this door was left open and unintended signals were sent.”