1518538834272 14 - CIA pick Haspel picks up key Dem endorsements ahead of confirmation vote

CIA pick Haspel picks up key Dem endorsements ahead of confirmation vote

Politics

Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) on the confirmation hearing for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel, the debate over enhanced interrogation, military spending and President Trump considering pulling out of Syria.

Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) on the confirmation hearing for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel, the debate over enhanced interrogation, military spending and President Trump considering pulling out of Syria.

President Trump’s pick to lead the CIA Gina Haspel picked up endorsements from key Democrats Tuesday ahead of a confirmation vote expected later this week.  

Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., both offered support to Haspel on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m going to support Gina Haspel’s nomination to be Director of the CIA. I also respect my colleagues who have made a different decision,” Warner said in a statement on Tuesday, acknowledging that his endorsement was a “difficult decision” and citing “valid questions” raised throughout the process about Haspel’s history.

Heitkamp also said she is “planning to vote to confirm” Haspel on Wednesday.

“This was not an easy decision. Ms. Haspel’s involvement in torture is deeply troubling, as my friend and colleague, John McCain, so eloquently reminded us,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “However, Ms. Haspel explained to me that the agency should not have employed such tactics in the past and has assured me that it will not do so in the future.”

Warner and Heitkamp’s endorsement follows Haspel support from Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly. All but Warner are facing tough re-election races this year. 

Haspel was nominated to replace former CIA director and now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said her confirmation vote will be held this week. A committee vote is expected Wednesday. 

Haspel has proven to be a controversial pick for the president, over her history at the CIA and the agency’s use of harsh interrogation tactics.

But in a letter to Warner on Monday, Haspel wrote that “the enhanced interrogation program is not one that the CIA should have undertaken.”

“I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral—like a return to torture,” Warner said.

In the letter, Haspel wrote that she would not “condemn” those who made the “hard calls” after the 9/11 terror attacks. But she added that the interrogation program “ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.