rand paul versus
Libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested Wednesday that he is considering filibustering President Trump's nomination of Mike Pompeo for secretary of state and Gina Haspel for CIA director, Politico reports. "People complain sometimes about the filibuster, they complain about trying to obstruct," Paul told Politico. "I think the debate over whether or not America is a country in favor of torture or not is an important one. I'm going to do everything I can to block them."
Paul cited Pompeo's support of the Iraq War as well as his backing of enhanced interrogation tactics as reasons for opposition. Of Haspel, Paul said: "My opposition to her is over her direct participation in interrogation and her gleeful enjoyment at the suffering of someone being tortured."
Paul could cause the most problems for Pompeo, as the senator sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Republicans have just a one-point advantage. If all Democrats on the committee were to also oppose Pompeo's nomination, he would receive an unfavorable committee verdict, although he could still potentially be brought to a Senate floor vote by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Still, not all Democrats might join Paul in opposition: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday he is not "at this point" urging his caucus to oppose Pompeo or Haspel's nominations.
Paul does not serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which would vet Haspel, although Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) does: "Sen. McCain has voiced some misgivings about the CIA appointment," mused Paul to Politico. "If he alone were to say no, it might be enough."
Trump has previously spoken in favor of techniques like waterboarding, vowing on the campaign trail to consider bringing it back along with "a hell of a lot worse."