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CIA director nominee's confirmation uncertain

Gina Haspel, President Trump's nominee for CIA director, testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday about her tenure at the CIA. Sen. John McCain came out against Haspel's nomination, and several other senators said they will vote no on her confirmation.


Sen. Jeff Flake, the retiring Republican also from Arizona, has yet to make up his mind on Haspel as of Thursday morning, a fact complicated now by McCain, who's been a mentor to him. Flake said McCain's statement will "affect everyone."

"He's been a preeminent voice on speaking out against torture," Flake said. "The laws that we now have, we used the Army field manual as a guide -- that was his bill. He was the main motivation behind that, so his voice matters here. I'm glad that he's spoken up.

While the vast majority of Republicans have already indicated they plan to support or are leaning toward supporting Haspel, the GOP's majority is narrow. With McCain out and Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, vowing to vote "no," the GOP can't afford to lose many more votes without winning broader Democratic support.

John Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said he still believes that Haspel should be confirmed, despite McCain's statement to his colleagues.

"I have a lot of respect for Sen. McCain, but we haven't had a more qualified CIA director perhaps ever, and I think we need to have somebody in charge at CIA during a time when we have unprecedented threats and so I hope we confirm Ms. Haspel," he told reporters Thursday.

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