Still, Tillerson noted he has received Trump's confidence and said the president often calls at unusual times seeking input on various foreign policy matters.
Both Tillerson and Trump have worked to strike a deal with Russian Federation that would allow relations between the two countries to improve and have avoided rocking the boat.
"He felt he had to do something", Tillerson said of Putin. "That's how I view it, anyway".
Tillerson talked to reporters during a surprise appearance in the briefing room, his first since becoming secretary six months ago.
Putin's decision to slash the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Tillerson suggested, was a play to domestic politics after Barack Obama expelled Russian diplomats and seized two Russian properties in the closing weeks of his presidency. The White House previously had said Trump would do so, but has not said when.
Tillerson also clearly outlined the position in relation to Russian Federation in this matter. But its mission was expanded, along with the fresh funding, at the end of a year ago in light of Russia's election meddling and to counter messages from governments in such nations as China, Iran and North Korea.
Katie Ledecky wins 5th gold medal at World Championships
Two of his golds came in events that feature men and women on the same team, races Phelps never competed in at worlds. Sjostrom's time in the semi-finals broke the previous mark of 23.73 seconds set by Germany's Britta Steffen in 2009.
"There's paranoia and inertia - decisions are not being made", a State Department official told the website. The ban, which includes potential exceptions for journalists and humanitarian workers, will take effect on September 1 and expires one year later unless extended by Tillerson. "Whatever the president chooses to express, he expresses, and then that's information to everybody, us included".
The money is earmarked for the State Department's Global Engagement Center and Tillerson has not issued a request for it. $60 million of it will expire on September 30 if it is not transferred to the State Department by then, officials told Politico.
Hammond told Politico that State Department officials haven't presented a plan for how to spend the money, a claim that was challenged by the former senior State Department official. While he said frustrated Americans want the U.S.to get along with the nuclear-armed power, he did not address the deep suspicions at home about the president's intentions.
"It is to be expected that we will go through some morale issues early on", he said, holding out hope for "an uptick" soon.
Tillerson also revealed that Trump told Lavrov when the two met in the Oval Office in May that "we need some good news" from Moscow. He said he had many "open slots", with only his deputy and one undersecretary confirmed by the Senate.
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