Donald Trump picks Rex Tillerson to lead State Department

WASHINGTON (AP): The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition to the White House (All times EST)

7:44 a.m.

A top adviser to Donald Trump says the president-elect “hit it off” with his choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Reince Priebus said Tuesday that the president-elect chose Tillerson in part because the ExxonMobil CEO is a diplomat who “happens to be able to drill oil.”

The Republican National Committee chairman said, “Tillerson had to maintain relationships across the world in many places that aren’t the easiest places to have relationships, during many different (presidential) administrations.”

Some Republicans and Democrats said they have concerns about Tillerson’s longtime business ties to Russia, raising questions about whether he could win Senate confirmation.

Priebus spoke Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

7:00 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday he has settled on ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state.

The real estate mogul said in a predawn statement that Tillerson is “among the most accomplished business leaders and international deal makers in the world.”

Trump added that Tillerson’s career is “the embodiment of the American dream.”

Senate Democrats and some Republicans have said they’re concerned about Tillerson’s business ties to Russia. The subject is likely to come up during Tillerson’s Senate confirmation proceedings.

4:00 a.m.

President Barack Obama is criticizing Trump for saying he’ll shun daily intelligence briefings when he takes office.

Appearing Monday evening on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Obama said that a president who isn’t getting the benefit of such regular briefings from the intelligence community is likely “flying blind” in managing national security issues for the country.

Trump said in a television interview Sunday that he wasn’t interested in getting daily intelligence briefings, a practice that’s been a fixture for chief executives of both parties for several years.

Obama also said the reason he’s ordered a wide-ranging probe into purported Russian hacking against the U.S. election process is to “really just gather all of the threads of the investigation.” He says notions of meddling in the campaign “was not a secret” before Election Day, Nov. 8, in the United States.

3:15 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department, dismissing concerns about the businessman’s close ties to Russia and bringing a long public audition process to a conclusion.

Two people close to Trump’s transition team said Monday night that Trump had selected Tillerson. They insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the pick ahead of that announcement.

Trump was set to announce his nomination Tuesday morning. The selection could set him up for a potential fight with Congress over confirming Tillerson, who has connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Leading Republicans have already expressed anxieties about Tillerson, as they contend with intelligence assessments saying Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election to help Trump.


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