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The Brief: Rex Tillerson inches closer to nomination

The former Exxon CEO and native Texan got the support of two key U.S. senators this weekend: John McCain and Lindsey Graham. With their support, Tillerson likely has the votes for confirmation from the senate.

ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the IHS CERAWeek 2015 energy conference in Houston,
Texas April 21,…

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Tribune today

Two key senators announce support for secretary of state nominee Tillerson
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What you need to know

Former Exxon CEO and native Texan Rex Tillerson got the support of two key U.S. senators this weekend: John McCain and Lindsey Graham. With their support, Tillerson likely has the votes needed for confirmation from the Senate, though he faces another potential hurdle with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expected to vote on his nomination today. 

  • Both senators had initially expressed skepticism of Tillerson because of his ties to Russia. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, intensely interrogated Tillerson in a senate committee earlier this month over these very ties. Rubio remains a Tillerson holdout. 
  • McCain still seemed uneasy with Tillerson while speaking on ABC's "This Week." "This wasn't an easy call," McCain said. "But I also believe that when there's doubt, the incoming president gets the benefit of the doubt."
  • Another Texan likely to win nomination: Former Gov. Rick Perry. After his confirmation hearing last week, Perry emerged relatively unscathed. But some of his answers may put him at odds with President Donald Trump.

Other stories we're watching today

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

El Chapo's new home: a jail that held mobsters, terroristsThe Associated Press

With Trump in office, feds may alter course in Texas voter ID caseProPublica

With executive order, Trump tosses a 'bomb' into fragile health insurance marketsThe Washington Post ($)

DPS: Terrorism threat level 'elevated' in TexasThe Houston Chronicle ($)

Could this be the year for school vouchers in Dallas?, The Dallas Morning News ($)

Foreign payments to Trump firms violate constitution, suit will claim, The New York Times ($)

Photo of the day

Women's March demonstrators move down Congress Avenue in Austin on Jan. 21, 2017. Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera. See more photos on our Instagram account

Quote to note

"It seems with all the attention given to recent court decisions over gender rights, the Affordable Care Act and other political “hot buttons,’ dogs were forgotten and tossed to the street."

— Attorney Steve Fischer, proposing legislation to compensate owners for reckless pet deaths via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. If you have feedback or questions, please email We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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