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Tillerson: I’ve told Russia our relationship can get worse, ‘and it just did’

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that he’s warned Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the relationship between the U.S. and Moscow is bad — but it can get worse.

“I told President Putin when I saw him in the Kremlin in March and I’ve told Foreign Minister Lavrov repeatedly, ‘The situation’s bad, but believe me, it can get worse’ — and it just did,” Tillerson told reporters.

Tillerson addressed the press with a rare appearance at Tuesday’s State Department briefing, where he talked about his first six months as secretary of state and answered a few questions.

He said he and President Donald Trump are not “very happy” with Congress’ vote to sanction Russia, but “all indications are he will sign that bill, and then we’ll just work with it.”

The bill, which was approved overwhelmingly in both chambers, allows Congress to block any attempt to ease or end penalties against the Kremlin and imposes new sanctions in response to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

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