Rex Tillerson | KERA News

Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent an unannounced visit to Afghanistan outlining elements of a peace strategy he says the Trump administration will commit to, on a conditional basis.

"It's not an unlimited commitment. He's also made it clear it's not a blank-check commitment," Tillerson told reporters who had landed with him at Bagram Air Force Base on Monday.

The rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea cooled for a day — and just a day only, it appears.

Roughly 24 hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the U.S. has been engaged in diplomatic talks with Pyongyang, President Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to deride the effort — as well as Kim Jong Un.

Updated 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The State Department has ordered more than half of its staff in Cuba to leave after at least 21 Americans were victims of what senior U.S. officials call "specific attacks." The order applies to all nonessential U.S. Embassy personnel and their families.

The department also issued a warning on Friday advising Americans not to travel to Cuba.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

As the leaders of two nuclear-armed countries trade threats, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Trump "is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."

As global pressure ratchets up against North Korea with a new package of sanctions, the rogue nation is blaming the United States and threatening "ultimate measures" in response.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he had a "productive" meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday, despite palpable tension between the U.S. and Russia.

"There is a low level of trust between our two countries," Tillerson said after the meeting. "The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship."

Rex Tillerson has touched down in Moscow. But well before his plane landed on the runway, heated words were already flying between the U.S. secretary of state and Russian officials over the situation in Syria.

"I hope that what the Russian government concludes is that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad," Tillerson said Tuesday at a meeting of G-7 foreign ministers in Lucca, Italy, shortly before he left for Russia.

Amid deep strains in the U.S. relationship with Mexico, a country that's been a favorite target of President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security chief John Kelly took part in talks in Mexico City on Thursday that were aimed at smoothing out tensions.

"That's going to be a tough trip," the president said Thursday morning at the White House. Some of the key issues between the two countries: immigration, border security, trade and U.S. aid to Mexico.

Rex Tillerson is heading on his second foreign trip as secretary of state later this week. But as in his visit last week to Germany, Tillerson is expected to try to keep a low profile when he travels to Mexico on Wednesday.

Tillerson has said very little in public since taking office. There has been no State Department briefing since the Trump administration began a month ago.

The action in the U.S. school system is overwhelmingly local. But the federal government, and the courts, have an important hand in many issues that touch classrooms — from civil rights to international programs of study. We looked at the records of some of President Trump's key appointees to see how they might affect education in the years to come.

Jeff Sessions, attorney general (confirmed)

When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived at the State Department for his first day on the job, he made a point of visiting two walls in the entryway that pay tribute to fallen foreign service personnel.

"They died in service of causes far greater than themselves," Tillerson told the hundreds of employees who packed the C Street lobby at Foggy Bottom. "As we move forward in a new era, it is important to honor the sacrifices of those who have come before us, and reflect on the legacy that we inherit."

President Trump has gotten his man at the State Department.

Rex Tillerson was approved by a 56-43 vote Wednesday in the Senate. Four senators who caucus with the Democrats crossed the aisle and joined all of the Republicans in voting for Tillerson. They were Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as independent Angus King of Maine.

The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil, as the new secretary of state.

Also, President Trump has announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, and more news keeps coming out of the Oval Office on everything from immigration to cybersecurity to the State Department.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young checks in with NPR’s Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR).

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is almost certain to become the next Secretary of State, thanks to a lukewarm endorsement from the most pivotal senator in the confirmation process. 

Irving, Texas, oil giant Exxon Mobil must hand over internal documents about global warming to the Massachusetts attorney general, a federal judge ruled earlier this month. It was just the latest development in a strange legal battle that’s sucked in the Texas attorney general and cast a shadow over President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the State Department.

Former Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. The secretary of state nominee, who has never held a position in government, does have extensive experience dealing with foreign countries on behalf of Exxon, where he has worked since 1975.

Mike Stone / Reuters

Rex Tillerson, the nominee of President-elect Donald Trump for secretary of state, is severing ties with Exxon Mobil through a $180 million retirement package one week before his Senate confirmation hearing begins.

As head of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson had license to work out deals with roguish foreign leaders. He was supposed to sniff out countries at risk of instability far into the future. He commanded a workforce circling the globe and had a writ that extended from the Arctic oceans to the desert sands.

In other words, the job he is leaving has much in common with the secretary of state post he has been nominated for in Donald Trump's incoming administration.

A few years ago, when ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson hobnobbed with Russian President Vladimir Putin, they didn't draw much attention. But photos of those meetings re-emerged over the weekend, as multiple media reports named the Texas oilman as the favorite to become Donald Trump's secretary of state.

Everything You Need To Know About Exxon Mobil Climate Change Probes

Dec 12, 2016
REUTERS/Daniel Kramer/File Photo

Reports that Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for U.S. Secretary of State come as his Irving-based company is mixed up in legal intrigue at home. Exxon Mobil is hoping a Texas court will halt a high-profile probe of its record on climate change.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

President-elect Donald Trump is leaning towards choosing Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of state, according to multiple news reports this weekend. NPR has not independently confirmed those reports. The potential pick is already drawing scrutiny for the ExxonMobil CEO's close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

George W. Bush Library

Five stories that have North Texas talking: President Bush to unveil more of his art; the head of ExxonMobil joins a lawsuit against fracking; public art at your bus station; and more.