Story highlights

Tillerson made the admission to New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez at his confirmation hearing

"That's pretty amazing," Menendez responded

Washington CNN  — 

President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state pick, Rex Tillerson, admitted Wednesday he has not spoken with the incoming President on policies regarding Russia.

During an exchange with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, the retired ExxonMobil CEO said that a conversation about Russia between himself and Trump had “not yet occurred” and that the two had only discussed global affairs in general terms.

“That’s pretty amazing,” Menendez responded.

Tillerson’s statement came a day after CNN reported classified documents were presented last week to President Barack Obama and Trump that included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

Tillerson fails to win over key GOP senators

Tillerson has come under scrutiny for his relationship with Russia, having once received the Order of Friendship award from President Vladimir Putin, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens. However, during his hearing, Tillerson took a tougher line on Russia than Trump has during the campaign and the transition.

“Russia must know that we will be accountable to our commitments and those of our allies, and that Russia must be held to account for its actions,” he said.

Tillerson also denied that ExxonMobil had ever lobbied against sanctions placed on Russia, despite lobbying records stating otherwise.

“I never lobbied against the sanctions. To my knowledge, ExxonMobil never lobbied against the sanctions,” he said.