Tillerson: US weighing response to Russia's expulsion of diplomats

The Trump administration is preparing a response to Moscow's demands.

The comments came one day after Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of a major summit in Manila, the Philippines, hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The new sanctions law ties Trump’s hands by forbidding him to lift or change sanctions without congressional approval, amid concerns the Trump administration was cozying up to Russia despite its efforts to undermine Western democracies.

Instead, Tillerson said, he tried to “help” Lavrov and the Russian delegation “understand just how serious this incident had been and how seriously it had damaged the relationship” during their meeting Sunday — their first face-to-face discussions since the latest tensions and their fifth to date.

“I don’t think it is useful to just cut everything off on one single issue,” he added in reference to the hacking.

Russia has welcomed the increased cooperation, with Lavrov telling Russian media Sunday, “There’s no alternative to that,” according to Reuters.