Top Senate intelligence Democrat to vote for Trump's CIA chief nominee

Glen Norman
May 15, 2018

Some democratic Senators have said they will support her nomination, while some republicans are opposed.

Kennedy said in the 41-minute video posted to Facebook that he pulled this stunt to show that Central Intelligence Agency nominee Gina Haspel has been unfairly criticized for overseeing a Central Intelligence Agency black site where "enhanced interrogation techniques" were used on terrorist detainees shortly after 9/11. John McCain is ailing and unlikely to vote on the nomination and Sen. If approved, she will be the first woman to head the agency.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the deputy majority leader and a member of the intelligence panel, defended the Bush-era program and Haspel's involvement.

Both Donnelly and Manchin are running for reelection this year in states that President Trump carried easily in 2016, and Donnelly, in particular, was being attacked for his supposed opposition to Haspel as late as Thursday, when Trump spoke at a campaign rally in Elkhart, Indiana and called for a vote for his Republican opponent, millionaire businessman Mike Braun.

The GOP side of the aisle, however, appears more unpredictable. Sen. McCain made the announcement from his home in Arizona, where he is battling brain cancer.

Shortly afterward, a White House official joked in an internal staff meeting that McCain was "dying anyway" and thus his opinion on Haspel didn't matter. Mark Warner's decision strengthens the likelihood that she will be confirmed by the Senate in coming days.

Warner has not yet said how he would vote ahead of the panel's closed session Wednesday. According to Haspel, she categorically against the resumption of this program.

But Mr. Paul's hometown newspaper, The Bowling Green Daily News, increased the pressure on him to support Mr. Trump's pick, publishing an emotional editorial recalling the days after 9/11 when "America lost its innocence".

For example, Haspel had testified that she was only briefed about the interrogation program after a year. "And we did what we had to do in order to protect the country in accordance with the legal advice that we got from the Department of Justice", he said shortly before Warner announced his support.

Among Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of IN have both said that they will vote for Haspel. And some of his fellow lawmakers are not sure he will hold the line again against his party and his president's wishes.

"But you probably shouldn't count his vote until it's cast", said Sen.

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