Rand Paul vows to block Trump’s nominees to run State and CIA

March 14, 2018 in News by RBN Staff


Source: Washington Examiner | by Susan Ferrechio

Rand Paul by Graeme Jennings

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, said he opposes Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who is now the CIA director, because he backs “regime change” in Iran and was a supporter of the Iraq War. Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner

Sen. Rand Paul announced Wednesday he will oppose the nominations of both Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel, who President Trump has selected to serve as secretary of state and CIA director, respectively.

Paul, R-Ky., pledged “I’m going to do everything I can to block them,” and was particularly critical of Haspel, who he said showed “joyful glee” when a suspected terrorist was tortured at one of the so-called black sites during the Iraq War. Haspel has served at the CIA for more than three decades and is currently the deputy director. She was in charge of one black site located in Thailand.

Paul said he opposes Pompeo, who is now the CIA director, because he backs “regime change” in Iran and was a supporter of the Iraq War.

Paul voted against Pompeo when he was confirmed as the head of the CIA last year.

He’s even more determined to keep Haspel from confirmation.

“It’s galling to read of her glee during the waterboarding,” Paul said. “It’s absolutely appalling.”

The information about Haspel was revealed during an investigation of the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques during the Bush administration.

Paul’s opposition could create a big hurdle for the two nominees, but particularly Haspel, who unlike Pompeo, has not been vetted by the Senate.

A simple majority is needed to confirm executive branch nominees but Republicans control only 51 votes and it’s not clear whether Democrats would unify in opposition to Haspel.

If confirmed, Haspel would be the first women to run the agency.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., has expressed doubts about Haspel’s nomination. However, it’s not clear if McCain will be able to vote as he remains in Arizona getting treatment for a brain tumor.

“It may be enough,” to block her, Paul said. “It depends on the solidarity of the Democrats,”

More than a dozen Democrats voted to confirm Pompeo to the CIA, which suggests he’ll get some of their votes again to run the State Department.