Rex Tillerson says Trump ‘asked him to do illegal things’ as secretary of state

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson said he frequently had to push back on requests from Donald Trump that he said would have violated the law.

Mr Tillerson described the give and take he had with the president during rare public remarks on Thursday in Houston, where he attended a fundraiser for the MD Anderson Cancer Centre.

“So often, the president would say here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it and I would have to say to him: ‘Mr President, I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law,’” Mr Tillerson said, according to The Houston Chronicle.

“I’d say here’s what we can do. We can go back to Congress and get this law changed. And if that’s what you want to do, there’s nothing wrong with that. I told him I’m ready to go up there and fight the fight, if that’s what you want to do,” he added.

During those conversations the president would grow frustrated, Mr Tillerson said.

Mr Tillerson was removed from his position in March after over a year serving under a president with whom he had a well-known contentious relationship with.

He was replaced as secretary of state by Mike Pompeo.

Mr Tillerson, a former CEO for Exxon Mobil, said he believes Mr Trump will win reelection because the public is not engaged on many important issues facing the United States.

“I will be honest with you, it troubles me that the American people seem to want to know so little about issues that they are satisfied with a 128 characters,” Mr Tillerson said, referring to Twitter, which the president uses frequently.

“I don’t want that to come across as a criticism of him,” he added. “It’s really a concern that I have about us as Americans and us as a society and us as citizens.”

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Mr Tillerson has largely stayed out of the spotlight since leaving public office earlier this year.

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