Remember back when Donald Trump very publicly interviewed Mitt Romney for Secretary of State, but then bizarrely chose ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for the position instead? If you’ve been paying attention all along, the move was fairly easy to understand. Romney was hostile to Russia, while Tillerson was a personal friend of Vladimir Putin. Now we have confirmation that Putin really did veto Romney and order Trump to hire Tillerson instead.
That confirmation comes, remarkably, from former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. That’s the same guy who authored the Trump-Russia dossier, which put so much of the Trump-Russia scandal on the map to begin with. The New Yorker is now reporting on a second dossier from Steele, and this one confirms what really transpired with Trump’s pick for Secretary of State (link). It turns out things went down more or less exactly like the most cynical of observers suspected all along. It also further cements the fact that Trump has been taking marching orders directly from the Kremlin. So now what?
Whatever you think of Mitt Romney, he would have made some sense as Secretary of State, given his political background. He was also by far the most legitimate candidate Trump was ever going to find who was willing to take the job. Romney could have given Trump a bit of credibility right out of the gate. But when Romney ran for president in 2012, he kept insisting that America needed to be worried about Russia. For everything else that Romney got wrong during that campaign, he turned out to be right about Russia – and there was just no way that a Kremlin puppet like Trump was ultimately going to hire a Kremlin hater like Romney as his top diplomat.
Russia awarded Rex Tillerson the Order of Friendship in 2014, after Putin and ExxonMobil had worked closely on international oil deals. Tillerson had absolutely no qualifications to be Secretary of State, and he’s indeed spent most of his time laying people off while dismantling the State Department. Tillerson has pretty clearly been taking marching orders from the Kremlin as well. Will Special Counsel Robert Mueller end up taking down Tillerson? Stay tuned.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report