He ruled out relaunching relations with a "clean slate", similar to the attempt at a "reset" by former president Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, in 2009. "I think it's been well documented, it's pretty well understood the nature of that interference here and elsewhere", he said.
"The President I think has made it clear that he feels it's important that we re-engage with Russian Federation. But the President's committed, rightly so, and I'm committed with him as well to see if we can do something to put us on a better footing in our relationship with Russian Federation", said the top American diplomat.
"So, the President, I think, has committed to at least make an effort in that regard and he has certainly asked me to make an important effort as well", Tillerson said, noting that relationship with Russian Federation comes up in his conversation with leaders of Europe as well. And so that's my only line. "And my values are those of the country".
But Tillerson reiterated his belief that those values should not determine foreign policy.
Although Tillerson said he is "committed" to improving relations - which have been especially tense since 2012 thanks to differences over Syria and, later, Russia's invasion of Ukraine - he expressed deep skepticism about the prospects for doing so.
The Secretary of State noted that addressing Russian interference in the recent USA election is one of the many important issues that will have to be addressed before the relationship improves. "You can not start with a clean state", Tillerson said. Can't start with a clean slate until maybe they either own up to what they did, or we punish them in a way that they're not going to do this again.
President Trump has dismissed the investigation into his campaign's ties with Russian Federation.
On Trump's bid to revive the moribund Israel-Palestinian peace process, he said that the president was still weighing up moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Host Chuck Todd asked the country's top diplomat how much independence he was given by the president and if he was concerned by the firing of Comey.
Trump had pledged on the campaign trail to move the embassy, reinforcing Israel's claim to the city as its capital, but Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the future capital of any Palestinian state.