Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) are among a group of lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have said they will not support CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s confirmation to become the next secretary of state, according to published reports.
Appearing on “Face the Nation” Sunday, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia indicated he will not vote for Pompeo.
What does this mean?
If all three senators vote against Pompeo, along with others who have also pledged to vote against him, the CIA director could face an 11-10 committee vote against his confirmation, the Daily Caller reported. But even if that happens, there is a way that Pompeo could still become secretary.
“I have decided to vote against him to be secretary of state…We have a president who is anti-diplomacy, and I worry that Mike Pompeo has shown the same tendency to oppose diplomacy,” Kaine said on Face the Nation. “I don’t want a secretary of state who is going to exacerbate President Trump’s tendencies to oppose diplomacy.”
The comment came after Democratic senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned Pompeo in a lengthy session Thursday.
Kaine has previously said he does not believe Pompeo is not the right candidate for the nation’s top diplomat position.
“I did vote him for CIA director,” he said. “He has an intel background that I thought suited him for the position. But look, we have a president that is anti-diplomacy. And I worry that Mike Pompeo has shown the same tendency to oppose diplomacy. He was not just against the Iran deal, when he was a House member, but he spoke about the relative ease of wiping out Iran’s nuclear capacity with a bombing run.”
The committee grilled Pompeo about ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, political hotspots in Syria and North Korea and other topics.
Many of the questions were left unanswered because, Pompeo said, it would not be appropriate to address them in a public forum.
What if Pompeo is not confirmed?
If Pompeo is not confirmed by the committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, could bring Pompeo’s nomination up for a vote on the Senate floor next week.
That move, the Daily Caller noted, would be politically contentious and “extremely rare” in terms of Senate history.