Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that he would “do everything to stop” President Donald Trump’s nominations of Mike Pompeo for secretary of state and Gina Haspel for CIA director, but conceded that he may not be able to stop them.
Paul, R-Ky., said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he wants someone who’s not “advocating for war,” particularly against Iran and North Korea, rather than Pompeo, the current CIA director.
Trump named Pompeo, a former Republican representative from Kansas, to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The president fired Tillerson last week.
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Paul also objected to Haspel’s overseeing of CIA “black sites” where waterboarding occurred in the early 2000s. “I don’t think torture is what America’s about,” Paul said.
Paul also spoke out against Haspel in an article published by Politico Sunday. “Some details may be disputed, but it remains true that Haspel ran a secret center in Thailand where prisoners were tortured,” he wrote. “There is no question that during her career, Haspel participated in and helped develop the program that our own government has labeled torture.”
On CBS he conceded that that he doesn’t “have the power to stop her nomination” if she gets enough votes.
Also on CNN, Sen Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Paul’s opposition makes him “an outlier” in the Republican Party.
Pompeo and Haspel are both qualified and should be confirmed, Graham said.
Still, Haspel, the current CIA deputy director, will have to acknowledge that waterboarding is no longer allowed by federal law, Graham said.