Trump-Putin summit

Trump fires back at Tillerson over Putin preparedness claims

Rex tillerson smirking
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump fired back at former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a Thursday tweet after reports that Tillerson disparaged the president's preparation for a 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin:

"Rex Tillerson, a man who is 'dumb as a rock' and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!"

The backdrop: After a request from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Tillerson told the committee in a closed hearing Wednesday that "a discrepancy in preparation ... created an unequal footing" for the meeting in Hamburg, per the Washington Post.

House Democrats request information on Trump-Putin talks

Donald trump and vladimir putin at helsinki summit
Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The heads of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees sent letters Monday to Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, requesting documents and interviews related to communications between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why it matters: Trump sought to hide details of his conversations with Putin from his own administration officials, according to a report earlier this year by the Washington Post. Democrats' majority in the House now gives them the power to attempt to access more documents about Trump's meetings with Putin, including at last year's controversial summit in Helsinki, which has long been a priority for party leaders like House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff.