The Secretary of State said the administration had been attempting to exert "peaceful pressure" on North Korea, "because the options available to us are limited, particularly if we think we are operating under a short period of time".
Some officials said that Tillerson may not understand the details of the funding or he may not be aware of what his aides are doing.
Rachel Maddow updates the show's running list of what Russian Federation would likely want to get out of a pliant US leader, including weaker election security and cyber policy. "The action by Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way they did، neither the president nor I are very happy about that،" Tillerson added. But President Donald Trump's top diplomat says he's comfortable in his job and in his relationship with the commander in chief.
In case of Russia's response to the United States sanctions, Tillerson said any leader would take symmetrical action in response to such a move.
Putin this week ordered the U.S.to dramatically cut its diplomatic presence in Russian Federation, solidifying the conclusion that a Trump-driven detente with Moscow hasn't come to pass.
The bill which was approved overwhelmingly in both chambers, by a margin of 98-2 with strong support from Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, a feat that seemed impossible with the embattled health care legistlation bill.
Several foreign-policy experts have called on the president to sign the sanctions into law quickly, because a tougher approach to Moscow will benefit Ukraine, Georgia and other countries that feel threatened by Russian aggression.
"As I said during the first visit to Moscow and meetings with President Putin in the Kremlin, and also at the end, relations are at a historically low point after the end of the cold war, and they may deteriorate further", said Tillerson.
In another sign of USA concern about the North, the Trump administration published a notice Wednesday in the Federal Register detailing a new ban on Americans traveling to North Korea. "He felt he had to do something".
One former senior department official told Politico part of the delay is due to the new and convoluted decision-making process by Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO. "Does it make our life more hard?"
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional forum and other meetings that will be held in Manila from August 5 to 9, the State Department said on Wednesday.