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Few high-level contacts between State Dept., Trump transition team

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United States Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about climate change at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

There have been few high-level contacts between State Department officials and President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

Asked about the transition process at a forum in Washington on Tuesday, Kerry said, “It’s going pretty smoothly because there’s not an enormous amount of it.”

Kerry said he had not yet met with Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice as secretary of state, but expected to do so soon. Kerry and Tillerson spoke last month by telephone, the State Department said. Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

“There are some people who have been in the building for a period of time, but you know quite candidly, I think there has not been a lot of high-level exchange at this point in time,” Kerry said.

The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tillerson’s Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday and will be closely watched in part due to concerns about his relationship with Russia as former chairman and chief executive of oil company ExxonMobil Corp (XOM.N).

Trump has called for better ties with Russia, while his fellow Republicans in Congress have pushed for a harsher response to what American spy agencies say was the Kremlin’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Frances Kerry and Will Dunham)

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