If it pertains to members of Trump’s team and Russia, Rachel Maddow will bring it to light. Sadly, it seems there is always a new development in the Trump/Russia saga.
On Wednesday, Rachel Maddow called out President Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, after The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Tillerson’s former employer, Exxon Mobil Corp. was seeking to resume work with Russia, despite U.S. economic sanctions:
‘Ka-ching! Payout time.’
Ka-ching! Payout time.https://t.co/fovQGP09AQ
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) April 19, 2017
The report identified that Exxon Mobil Corp. is allegedly seeking an exemption to the Obama-era economic sanctions imposed on Russia due to their annexation of Ukraine. The waiver would allegedly apply to a joint venture between Exxon and the Russian-government owned Rosneft in the Black Sea. At the time the sanctions were imposed, Exxon was engaged with Rosneft on projects in the Arctic, in the Black Sea and in Siberia.
While there is no direct evidence to date which identifies with any degree of certainty that a pay out has occurred, it certainly doesn’t seem that far-fetched, given how far the Trump administration has sidelined ethical compliance.
It is quite clear though, that the very fact Exxon is seeking this exemption is unethical, given that the current U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, served as Exxon’s CEO in 2012. Further, while Tillerson was Exxon’s CEO, Russian President Vladimir Putin gifted him an Order of Friendship award as a result of Exxon-Russian ventures. Clearly, if Exxon Mobil were permitted to re-engage in this joint venture, not only would Tillerson’s former colleagues be very pleased, but so would Vladimir Putin.
The largest concern that arises out of this request, is very simply the fact that the State Department is one of the groups which will contribute to the decision on whether or not Exxon Mobil will be permitted to do this work. That is, whether or not Exxon’s sanctions waiver is granted, is in part in the hands of their former CEO.
As WSJ reported, it is possible that this request was sent in before Tillerson’s confirmation hearing, wherein he promised to recuse himself from anything that related to Exxonmobil during his first two years in his role. Whether or not he does that in this instance, remains to be seen. Tillerson also said during this hearing that neither he nor Exxonmobil ever lobbied against U.S. sanctions on Russia, which seems more than slightly fishy now, given this development.
Feature Image via Getty Images.