>> If you look back several months->> Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson isn't even yet tapped by Donald Trump, but key Republican lawmakers already questioning whether the top candidate for Secretary of State and friend of Vladimir Putin can stand up to Russia. Three top GOP senators speaking out against Tillerson, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio.
All questioning whether he would be the right man to face a regime US intelligence agencies say tried to tip the election to Trump. Reuters energy correspondent Valerie Volcovici is covering the story.>> Tillerson is somebody who's known as having very close relations with some of the highest up people in Russia.
Putin even awarded Tillerson with with one of the highest civilian honors that you can get in Russia in 2013. And he has a very close associate who's the head of Rosneft, the national oil company, which is also very close with Putin. So people are really concerned that Tillerson is such a close friend of Putin and they think that that actually should be a disqualifying factor.
So he faces a really tough challenge to try to get confirmed.>> The Kremlin on Monday, perhaps not helping Tillerson's cause, calling him highly professional. Rare praise from a country that has clashed with the United States over Ukraine, Syria, and cybersecurity. As head of Exxon, Tillerson has opposed the trade sanctions the United States imposed on Russia after it invaded Crimea in 2014.
>> He's only worked at Exxon his entire life. Some people question whether he can take that loyalty that he's had for this company and kind of be a loyal servant to the US government.>> His transition team, over the weekend, saying Tillerson's personal relationship with Putin was a selling point.
But they all have some selling to do with members of their own party if they want Tillerson as their Secretary of State.