Speed Reads


Watch Tom Cotton bring the art of the awkward silence to a Senate confirmation hearing

On Wednesday, the senators of the Senate Intelligence Committee have the opportunity to question Gina Haspel, President Trump's nominee to be the next CIA director, on her qualifications for the position. Each lawmaker has just a few minutes to bombard Haspel with questions, which will likely seek to suss out her stance on torture techniques previously used by the CIA and how she plans to navigate her relationship with President Trump.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) did not seem concerned about the time constraints, however. He opened his questioning with a soliloquy about the partisanship that has seeped into the nomination process under the Trump administration, specifically calling out "overwhelming Democratic opposition." He then asked Haspel how many votes she believes she would've received for confirmation under a hypothetical President Hillary Clinton — which prompted quite an awkward silence when Haspel declined to respond. Watch the deafening silence below. Kimberly Alters