Rex Tillerson Says Putin Outmaneuvered Trump at Key Meeting Because of ‘Discrepancy in Preparation’: WaPo

President Vladimir Putin outmaneuvered President Trump at a critical 2017 meeting in Germany, leaving the U.S. leader at a disadvantage in their first round of talks, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. According sources cited by The Washington Post, Tillerson—who has said little about the president since he was fired in March 2018—said Trump went into the meeting at Hamburg prepared only for brief pleasantries, but the conversation ran over two hours and involved discussions on a number of geopolitical issues. “We spent a lot of time in the conversation talking about how Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted,” a committee aide told the Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “There was a discrepancy in preparation, and it created an unequal footing.” The seven-hour closed committee meeting made up of lawmakers and staffers from both parties assembled at the request of the chairman of the committee, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY). Trump rejected Tillerson’s account of the meeting, saying in a statement that he “was perfectly prepared for my meetings with Vladimir Putin. We did very well at those meetings.”