WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees for secretary of state and CIA director (all times local):
Republican Sen. Rand Paul says he will oppose President Donald Trump’s nominees Mike Pompeo for secretary of state and Gina Haspel for CIA director over their views on harsh interrogation techniques.
The Kentucky senator told reporters Wednesday he will do everything he can to block the nominees. He said torture is so “heinous” and “sends a terrible message to the world.”
Paul was the lone Republican to vote against Pompeo last year as CIA director. His opposition now makes it more likely Republicans will need Democratic support for the confirmations or rely on Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie.
Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 Senate majority. But Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who also raised concerns over Haspel, has been away fighting brain cancer.
Senate confirmation isn’t expected to go as smoothly for President Donald Trump’s new selections for secretary of state and CIA director as they did last year.
Senate Democrats — and some top Republicans — are slow-walking the process amid fresh questions over the Trump administration’s stance toward Russia and the CIA’s dark history of torture.
Trump’s firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched off a confirmation battle that will play out ahead of midterm elections, which determine party control of Congress.
Trump’s pick to replace Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, is expected to be asked about his loyalty to Trump and his approach toward Russia.
And Trump’s choice to replace Pompeo at the CIA, Gina Haspel, is likely to be asked about her role in the CIA’s interrogation program.