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Tillerson Stands His Ground Against Kremlin-Backed News Outlets

During his official press conference for the diplomatic visit to Moscow, Secretary Tillerson held his ground against hostile questions from Russian state-run media.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on a diplomatic visit to Moscow, held his ground against Russian state media as they asked questions aimed at embarrassing the United States.

The first question of the press conference went to Rossiya 24, Russia’s state-run television channel. Their reporter asked about President Trump’s “contradictory and aggressive statements” and referenced Trump’s characterization of Assad as “an animal.”

“The facts that we have are conclusive,” Tillerson said. “The recent chemical weapons attack was planned and it was directed and executed by Syrian regime forces.”

Tillerson remained steadfast in his knowledge of Assad’s many “horrific” chemical attacks.

“So I think the characterization” of an animal, Tillerson said, “is one that President Assad has brought upon himself.”

Later on in the conference, Kommersant, a paper owned and operated by a pro-Putin oligarch, engaged in the Soviet-era practice of ‘whataboutism,’ trying to equate “alleged” Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election with U.S. cyber attacks on Iran’s nuclear program.

Tillerson flatly rejected the comparison.

“I do make a distinction” between the two scenarios, Tillerson said. “When cyber-tools are used to interfere with the internal decisions among countries as to how their elections are conducted. That is one use of cyber-tools.”

“Cyber-tools to disrupt weapons programs – that’s another use of the tools,” Tillerson continued. “And I make a distinction between those two.”

Tillerson also fielded a question on North Korea from Russian state-run news agency Ria Novosti.

All questions from U.S. outlets came from independent news agencies.