At Senate confirmation hearing, Trumps secretary of state pick address climate change and economic measures targeting Russia and Iran

Rex Tillerson, Donald Trumps nominee for secretary of state, denied knowledge of any lobbying endeavors against US economic sanctions by ExxonMobil, the company he ran for a decade, during his congressional verification hearing on Wednesday.

But Democrats on the committee rendered lobbying revealing records that indicate the oil and gas company lobbied on various legislation relating to economic sanctions, including measures imposed on Iran in 2010 and on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

I have never lobbied against sanctions, Tillerson told the Senate foreign relations committee. To my knowledge, Exxon never directly lobbied against sanctions.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, interjected: I think you called me at the time when the Russia sanctions were being debated.

Tillerson, 64, who headed the worlds biggest petroleum company until last month, argued that ExxonMobil never opposed sanctions but rather wanted to engage with Congress to better understand the impact sanctions would have.

Exxon echoed Tillersons assessment on Wednesday. Lets be clear, the company said on Twitter. We engage with lawmakers to discuss sanction impacts , not whether or not sanctions should be imposed.

In one line of questioning, Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, held up several lobbying reports. I know you werent lobbying for international sanctions, he said to Tillerson.

The focus on lobbying came as Tillerson faced sharp questions during a lengthy proceeding on his business ties to Moscow, his potential conflicts of interest, and his view of some of Trumps most controversial proposals.