Senators face choice on CIA director nominee ahead of key votes

Republican leaders believe that ...

Posted: May 14, 2018 9:22 PM
Updated: May 14, 2018 9:22 PM

Republican leaders believe that Gina Haspel will be confirmed to be the next director of the CIA, though a few notable lawmakers -- red state Democrats and Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski -- are still undecided.

Last week, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain announced his opposition to Haspel, a factor that is weighing on Flake and others.

But over the weekend, Haspel's supporters got a large boost once Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly said he would support her nomination -- joining West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin as the second Democrat to do so. While Donnelly's decision does not assure Haspel's confirmation, it does help solidify the numbers needed to get her through the chamber. Expect more senators to make their decisions public this week.

RELATED: Here's how senators say they'll vote on CIA director nominee Haspel

Flake said he has "always shared McCain's views on the issue" of torture and added that he believes McCain's statement will "affect everyone."

Some lawmakers are urging the Department of Justice to release a document from John Durham, the federal prosecutor who was tapped to investigate the destruction of the tapes in 2008 and closed the case in 2010 without bringing any charges. The report is a look at how tapes of the enhanced interrogation program were destroyed, but right now it is only available to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The vote on Haspel in the Senate Intelligence Committee could come this week with a full Senate vote potentially before the end of the month.

'Discharge petition' for immigration solution

Immigration will be back in the spotlight as a group of House Republicans seeks to buck GOP leadership by using a procedural maneuver to force a vote on four competing immigration bills with a procedural maneuver known as a discharge petition.

With the likely help of all Democrats, the group thinks they can get enough Republicans on board to get the number of signatures needed -- a majority of the House -- to trigger floor votes.

RELATED: Here's how lawmakers could force a DACA vote in the House

Republicans had 18 signatures by the end of the week and need at least seven more to feel confident that they have the numbers. House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the effort Thursday, saying none of the four immigration bills will get the President's signature.

"I would like to have an immigration vote before the midterms, but I want to have a vote on something that can make it into law," he said. "I don't want to have, you know, show ponies."

RELATED: Bernie Sanders calls separating parents and children at the border 'heartless'

But if Republicans cross the threshold of signatures, it would prompt a heated immigration debate on the House floor that was previously unexpected this year.

Cabinet secretaries on the Hill

Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator to the Environmental Protection Agency, will return to Capitol Hill this week to testify before a Senate Appropriations Committee about the fiscal year 2019 budget for his agency.

Pruitt, despite a continuous stream of reports and allegations of financial improprieties and the subject of more than 10 separate federal inquiries into his activities, appears to still enjoy the support of the President, who reiterated his confidence in Pruitt late last week.

RELATED: Memo says Pruitt flew first class to avoid 'lashing out from passengers'

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will appear before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to testify on her department's budget for the next fiscal year, just a week after a contentious Cabinet meeting at the White House, when she and President Trump reportedly had, according to a source, "angry and heated" disagreement over the President's belief that his DHS Secretary isn't doing enough to secure the border.

Russia meddling hearing

The Senate intelligence committee will hear from several marquee former intelligence officials -- James Comey was invited but isn't confirmed -- about a January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian meddling in recent elections.

The hearing is part of the committee's investigation into alleged election interference by Russia.

Former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan and former director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers are scheduled to appear.

Farm bill

Also on the docket in the House is a five-year farm bill, a massive piece of legislation that sets the eating and farming policy in the United States, including what the US grows and how much the government spends in the process, for about five years. The last one was signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2014.

RELATED: House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don't work

Democrats are expected to oppose the bill due to stricter work requirements tied to the SNAP program, while it's unclear at this point whether Republicans have enough votes within their own ranks to pass it.

This story has been updated.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 152907

Reported Deaths: 4783
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27283615
Cuyahoga17603657
Hamilton13340321
Montgomery7993166
Lucas7377364
Butler6151112
Summit5393252
Warren313649
Mahoning3114282
Marion311447
Stark2946175
Pickaway268445
Lorain234286
Delaware232821
Fairfield214654
Licking196063
Columbiana195180
Wood194273
Trumbull1921132
Clark185341
Clermont176123
Lake166051
Greene153634
Medina149339
Miami147652
Allen147372
Portage117766
Mercer113919
Erie96047
Tuscarawas94320
Wayne94268
Richland94119
Ross90426
Madison85512
Darke81144
Athens7402
Geauga73349
Hancock73110
Belmont72427
Lawrence68622
Shelby66910
Ashtabula66248
Auglaize62511
Putnam62523
Sandusky58720
Huron5727
Union5512
Scioto5287
Seneca49514
Ottawa47230
Muskingum4553
Preble44716
Holmes3999
Jefferson3424
Henry33715
Defiance33212
Champaign3143
Logan3143
Clinton30512
Perry3039
Fulton2991
Brown2923
Knox28915
Jackson2667
Washington26323
Morrow2622
Hardin25713
Ashland2484
Crawford2486
Coshocton23511
Fayette2346
Highland2313
Williams2163
Wyandot21512
Pike2040
Gallia19713
Meigs17711
Guernsey1748
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1374
Van Wert1283
Paulding1130
Monroe11018
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton483
Noble350
Unassigned00
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