Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday said the reason the Trump administration has not brought up the U.S. election in talks with Russia officials is because President Trump is focused on addressing a conglomeration of diplomatic issues all at once.
"I think we have such a broad range of important issues that have to be addressed in the U.S.-Russia relationship. Obviously the interference in the election is one of those," Tillerson told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd on NBC. "But again, I think we have to look at this relationship in its broadest contours, and there are many, many important areas which require our attention if we are to bring it back to a relationship that we believe is necessary for the security of the U.S."
Todd pushed back and asked the top U.S. diplomat how moving forward and addressing other parts of the U.S.-Russia relationship was possible if Moscow's interference in the election gets ignored.
Tillerson said the White House's approach to working with Russian President Vladimir Putin is not like the 2009 "Russia reset" approach Hillary Clinton espoused as secretary of state in 2009.
"I think terms like having a reset are overused. You cannot reset. You cannot erase the past. You cannot start with a clean slate. And we're not trying to start with a clean slate. We're starting with the slate we have. And all the problems that are on that slate. We don't dismiss any of them. We don't give anyone a free pass on any of them. They're part of the entire nature of the discussion we're having with the Russians," said Tillerson.
"And yes, there are a large number of issues that we have to get around to addressing in order to put this relationship back together, if that is indeed possible," Tillerson added.
The process of restoring trust between nations, which Tillerson described as being at an "all-time low point since the end of the Cold War," will touch on the unnamed issues between both world powers. He did not state when or if the issue of the election would be addressed.