Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is vowing to do everything he can to block the appointment of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and Gina Haspel as the new CIA director.
During a press conference Wednesday, Senator Paul criticized Pompeo’s position on regime change in Iraq and Iran as well as his stance on torture as a former congressman.
“We have asked Pompeo before about his quotes on enhanced interrogation, torture, waterboarding and he has basically stuck by the fact that he doesn’t believe it is torture, and that to me is very troubling and one of the reasons I opposed him at the CIA,” stated Paul.
The Kentucky senator also addressed Gina Haspel’s past as a black ops leader in Thailand, who oversaw interrogations of suspected terrorists during the Bush-43 administration.
He referred to quotes from Haspel relating to an interrogated suspect, where she said
“Good job, I like the way you are drooling.” The suspect was being waterboarded at the time.
“When you read that, sort of the joyful glee of somebody being tortured, I find it just amazing that anyone would consider having this woman as the head of the CIA,” said Paul. “So, my opposition to her is because of her direct participation in interrogation and her gleeful enjoyment of the suffering of someone being tortured.”
During the transition last year, the Kentucky senator was the only Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee to oppose Pompeo’s confirmation as CIA director.
Senator Paul also drew attention to the fact that he speaks out against a variety of matters on a regular basis, which are unpopular with the Republican party.
“There are certain issues, people who complain sometimes about the filibuster, they complain about trying to obstruct, I think the debate over whether or not America is a country in favor of torture or not is an important one,” Paul stated.
The Kentucky senator even voiced his displeasure with Pompeo and Haspel on Twitter, where he said he supported President Trump. However, he expressed that he couldn’t support “people who never understood ‘America first’ and want to manipulate the president.”
I will continue to support President Trump, but I can’t support people who never understood America First and want to manipulate the President into the sphere of the neocons who never met a war they didn’t want to star in. https://t.co/GCoaWNyUGn
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 14, 2018
Despite Senator Paul’s dissent, the move is not a deal-breaker for Pompeo and Haspel.
Foreign Affairs Chairman Bob Corker could send Pompeo to a full Senate vote if Democrats on the committee vote them down along with Senator Paul.
Meanwhile, Haspel will go before the Senate Intelligence Committee before heading to the full Wenate, which Senator Paul will not be apart of.
Vice President Mike Pence could then break a tie vote for the full vote if all Democrats vote no.
However, some Democrats have not vocally opposed Pompeo and Haspel’s nomination and are waiting for committee hearings to make a solid decision.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would not actively urge Democrats to vote no for either of the presidential picks, but said they have many unanswered questions for the two nominees.
Credit: OANN US