Trump’s CIA chief nominee committee vote scheduled for Wednesday
The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to vote on Gina Haspel’s nomination to be the next CIA director on Wednesday, a committee aide told CNN on Monday.
The intelligence panel is expected to vote to approve Haspel’s confirmation before a closed-door hearing Wednesday on the intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment of Russian election meddling. As a result, the vote will take place in closed session, which is the committee’s traditional practice, the aide said.
Haspel does not look to facing the same challenges with her committee vote that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did last month in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, when Pompeo was facing the prospect of an unfavorable vote before Sen. Rand Paul dramatically changed his mind about Pompeo’s nomination just minutes before the vote following weeks of opposition to his nomination.
Paul has shown no signs of swaying from his opposition of Haspel, but he’s not on the Senate Intelligence Committee. No Republicans on that panel have expressed any opposition toward her, while Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia who is also on the committee, is supporting her.
The Wednesday committee vote would likely set up a final Senate vote next week.
Haspel has the support of two Democrats so far — Manchin and Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana — both of whom are up for re-election in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Two Republicans, meanwhile, are opposed to her confirmation: Paul and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is not expected to return to Washington when her nomination is on the Senate floor as he battles brain cancer in his home state.
Haspel is facing a difficult confirmation battle over her involvement in the George W. Bush administration’s interrogation and detention program. Senators pressed her last week over her role supervising a CIA black site in Thailand where detainees faced brutal interrogations, as well as her role in the 2005 destruction of CIA interrogation tapes.