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Media Blackout As Trump’s Secretary Of State Oversees Exxon-Saudi Deal

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http://washingtonjournal.com/2017/05/30/media-blackout-trumps-secretary-state-oversees-exxon-saudi-deal/

While the big U.S. arms deal with Saudi Arabia was highly publicized during President Trump’s first foreign trip, another notable business deal was signed that similarly raises serious ethical and legal questions about the role of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the key details of which were kept mostly hidden from American media.

Tillerson, who spent a decade as CEO of the giant U.S. based energy conglomerate ExxonMobil, was joined by President Trump at the Al-Yamamah Palace for the signing of a huge deal with the state-owned Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SBIC), according to DesmogBlog.com.

No American media who accompanied the president were invited to cover about the signing of an agreement to conduct a study that is expected to lead to the construction of a $10 billion facility near Corpus Christi, Texas. Owned jointly owned by Saudi Arabia and ExxonMobil, it will process natural gas produced by hydraulic fracking into a salable product.

White House and State Department press releases about the deal did not mention that Trump and Tillerson were in the Royal Court for the signing of the agreement.

Photos from Getty Images made available in the U.S. did not include Trump or Tillerson, although they can be seen in the background, according to Desmog, a blog produced in Canada created to point out false news about climate change.

Owned jointly owned by Saudi Arabia and ExxonMobil, the 1,300-acre plant will process natural gas produced by fracking in Texas and elsewhere into a saleable product by around 2021.

The site, which will be subsidized by millions in local tax breaks, was chosen after a bidding war among a number of southwestern communities. When built, it will be the largest fracking processor in the world.

The signing event attended by high-level officials from Saudi Arabia, the current CEO of ExxonMobil, Trump, Tillerson and others was covered by the official Saudi Arabian news agency, which also provided pictures for its subscribers.



Tillerson’s presence and participation would appear to violate his written and verbal assurances at the time he was confirmed as Secretary of State in January that he would recuse himself for at least one year from any matters involving ExxonMobil that come before the U.S. Department of State.

Tillerson made the same promise in a letter to the State Department’s Office of Legal Counsel on January 3, 2017.

“For a period of one year after my resignation from ExxonMobil,” Tillerson wrote in the letter, “I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which I know that ExxonMobil is a party or represents a party, unless I am first authorized to participate,” according to rules related to conflicts pertaining to U.S. government business.

At his Senate confirmation hearing, Tillerson added that, “Obviously there’s a statutory recusal period, which I will adhere to, on any matters that might come before the State Department that deal directly and specifically with ExxonMobil.”
The White House did not respond to Desmog’s request for comment but a public interest watchdog group found the whole thing “troubling.”

“The President’s Saudi trip was a bizarre Art of the Deal-Esque foreign policy disaster: a sleazy mix of conflicted government-arranged corporate endorsement deals,” said Tyson Slocum, energy program director at Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen.

“Most troubling of all,” added Slocum, “as Tillerson’s presence and role in accommodating Exxon’s deal with the House of Saud, thereby violating the former CEO’s recusal agreement.”
There are things about this agreement you would think Trump would have wanted to publicize – if the deal was all above board. It is expected to create 600 permanent jobs, according to an April article in the Caller-Times of Corpus Christi, and another 11,000 jobs during the five years of construction. It is projected to add over $50 billion to the local economy over its first six years.

The plant will turn the fracked natural gas into mono ethylene, glycol, and polyethylene, which are used to make things like polyester for clothing, bottles and construction materials.

Instead, the presence of Trump and Tillerson was kept on the down-low, an indication the Trump administration knew it bordered on an ethical violation.

That wasn’t a surprise to Slocum: “Trump and Tillerson’s Riyadh embarrassment is just another sad indication of the administration’s prioritization of crony corporate access masquerading as a jumbled assembly of foreign policy and economic development.”

No wonder Trump didn’t tweet about the Saudi-Exxon deal.

Tillerson has snubbed the major American media since becoming Secretary of State again and again. Even on this recent trip, he did a press conference – but only for foreign news outlets. That made him the first Secretary of State in modern times to go on a major foreign trip and never answer questions from the American press.

Of course, he is taking his cue from Trump, who also failed to hold a press conference during the entire nine-day trip, which is not in keeping with what other American presidents have done since the advent of modern electronic media.

Trump will not call out Tillerson for his ethical violation, and the Republican-controlled Congress will look the other way. These kind of dirty deals are the reason it is so important that the Democrats take back the Congress in 2018 so that they are in a position to police the constant lies, deceit and ethical crimes of this administration.

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Sooo... now ethics and legality questions matter. Too late... leftists have no more credibility.

See: voting trends from local to national elections comparing R vs D. The only exception being huge cities.

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Here's the link to the Desmog article mentioned in the above post.

https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/05/30/rex-tillerson-exxon-saudi-arabia-trump-visit-deal

View user profile http://www.flickr.com/photos/btraven/

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