>> We are all losing our shirts today.>> Donald Trump officially nominating Exxon Mobil's CEO Rex Tillerson, Tuesday, setting the stage for a contentious senate confirmation battle that will very likely focus on his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A press release sent out early Tuesday morning saying, as Secretary of State he will quote Help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America's security and standing in the world.
No detail on what those misguided foreign policies are, but as head of the world's largest energy company, Tillerson has opposed the trade sanctions the United States imposed on Russia after it invaded Crimea in 2014. Those sanctions led to losses for Exxon Mobil, because of deals it had signed with Russian companies.
Reuters energy correspondent Valerie Volcovici is covering the story.>> Tillerson is somebody who is known as having very close relations with some of the highest up people in Russia. Putin even awarded Tillerson with one of the high 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.>> Trump pointing to Tillerson's quote, second to none relationships with leaders all over the world.
Over the weekend, Trump's transition team also said Tillerson's personal relationship with Putin was a selling point. Three top GOP senators speaking out against Tillerson this week. John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Florida senator Marco Rubio all questioning whether he would be the right man to face a regime the CIA says tried to tip the election to Trump.
The Kremlin on Monday, perhaps not helping Tillerson's cause aalling him, quote, highly professional. Rare praise from a country that has clashed with the United States over Ukraine, Syria, and cyber-security.