Rex Tillerson ordered by Trump to fix relationship with Russia

Stronger mandate comes after yet another election leak

In the wake of an identity being revealed in the investigation into leaks from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that he has received a mandate from the Chief Executive to improve ties with Russia. According to Tillerson, “The President has been clear to me: Do not let what’s happening over here in the political realm prevent you from the work you need to do in this relationship.” Tillerson says that Trump sees Russia as an important “global player” and wants the Secretary of State to salvage a deteriorating diplomatic relationship between the two world powers, caused in part by governmental investigation into Russian collusion concerning the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

On Monday, a federal contractor by the name of Reality Leigh Winner was charged with leaking a classified National Security Agency memo reportedly containing information of a Russian military cyberattack on a US voting software supplier. In response to the leak, U.S. intelligence officials say that they stand by the official stance that, while Russia may have gotten access to some electoral boards, the systems involved with vote counting were not compromised by the foreign power. Winner was arrested on June 3 after an investigation discovered that she sent this memo to The Intercept on May 30. Vivian Siu, director of communications for the online publication, says that the document was provided anonymously and did not the identity of the source that sent them this document. Winner faces up to 10 years in prison for leaking classified information; she will face a detention hearing on Thursday. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia commented on the incident, saying that even as the leaker should face the consequences of breaking the law, “the American public is also entitled to know the degree to which Russia invaded the election to take the election away from American voters,” while also acknowledging that no evidence has surfaced yet on Russia actually changing election results.

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