December 10, 2016

Trump's choice of Exxon-Mobil CEO should surprise no one. He's an extremely wealthy CEO of the largest oil company in the country, and he's really good friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Post reports:

Tillerson’s nomination could face intense scrutiny in the Senate considering his years of work in Russia on behalf of the multinational petroleum company and his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump spokesman Jason Miller said there would be no official announcement until next week, but other sources said that the pick is expected to be Tillerson, barring a late shift in Trump’s thinking.

Seriously, if there's no serious concern about the problems this raises on a number of different levels, I'll be amazed. This country is about to be consumed by Big Oil and oligarchs (think Kochs) while any semblance of democracy is stripped away.

The company’s deep ties to Russia would potentially serve Tillerson well given Trump’s desire to repair relations with the Kremlin. But Tillerson’s close relationship with Vladi­mir Putin could also become a flashpoint during confirmation hearings, especially in light of a recent CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system.

No, you think? You think maybe it would be bizarre beyond bizarro to put Putin's BFF in charge of the U.S. State Department right after evidence emerged of Putin's interference in our own elections?

“Few corporate titans are closer to Putin than Tillerson,” said Jason Bordoff, founder of Columbia University’s center for global energy.

During the 1990s, Tillerson oversaw an Exxon project on Russia’s Sakhalin island and developed a working relationship with Putin. In 2011, the company signed an agreement with the state-controlled oil company, Rosneft, to work jointly on oil exploration and development in the Arctic and Siberia.

After inking the deal in New York, Tillerson and Rosneft chairman and Putin confidante Igor Sechin dined on caviar at the luxury Manhattan restaurant Per Se, according to one account. The next day they gave oil analysts black pens with the date of the agreement engraved in gold.

If you can imagine Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin holding hands while giving Americans the middle finger, Tillerson's nomination would be the symbolic expression of that.

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