Trump has made final Secretary of State choice and John Bolton came in second, NBC News reports

According to a Donald Trump transition team insider, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson has jumped to the front of the line in the president-elect’s choice as secretary of state, as reported Saturday by NBC News.

Tillerson moved ahead of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney among the hopefuls, who met with Trump twice — including a dinner meeting also attended by Trump’s chief of staff pick, Reince Priebus.

The energy executive has met with Trump once — on Tuesday — but may be meeting with him again over the weekend.

Critics are already blasting the decision due to Tillerson’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Hill reported:

According to the Wall Street Journal, Tillerson negotiated an energy partnership with Putin in 2011 that the Russian president said could be worth $500 billion.

The following year, Tillerson received the Russian Order of Friendship, one of the highest awards the country bestows upon foreign nationals.

 

This comes at the same time as a CIA report was published alleging that the Russian government gave Trump a boost in his campaign — a charge Trump categorically denies: .

It also comes at a time when former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulian removed his name from consideration for the post.

NBC Nightly News senior producer Ilyas Kirmani reported:

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