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Senate committee narrowly votes to approve Tillerson as secretary of state

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted along party lines to approve former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, sending President Donald Trump's pick to the full Senate.

Tillerson passed the committee by an 11-10 vote in which every Republican voted in favor of his confirmation and every Democrat voted against.

The former oil CEO during his confirmation hearing fielded questions about his ties to Russia, his stance on climate change and whether he considers there to be human rights violations in countries including Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

Some of the most ardent questioning came from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who at one point asked Tillerson whether he considers Russian President Vladimir Putin a "war criminal," to which Tillerson responded that he would not use that term.

Rubio said in a Jan. 23 Facebook post that he would vote to confirm Tillerson despite "troubling" answers on several questions. "Given the uncertainty that exists both at home and abroad about the direction of our foreign policy, it would be against our national interests to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy," Rubio said.