Rand Paul Issues Filibuster Threat on Trump’s State and CIA Nominees

  • Kentucky senator termed an outlier in oppostion to nominees
  • Trump’s CIA pick was involved in ‘black sites’ in the 2000s

Rand Paul

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Republican Senator Rand Paul said Sunday 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 he may not be able to stop them.

Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said on CBS News’ “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 on March 13 in a Twitter message.

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 in one of three appearances on Sunday talk shows.

The Senator also spoke out against Haspel in an editorial published by Politico on 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 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, fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that Paul’s opposition makes him “an outlier” within the Republican Party.

Pompeo and Haspel are both qualified and should be confirmed, Graham said.

Still, Haspel, 61, who’s currently Deputy Director of the CIA, will need to acknowledge that waterboarding is no longer allowed by federal law, Graham said.

— With assistance by Mark Niquette

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