Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul says he will do “whatever it takes” to block President Donald Trump’s nominees for Secretary of State and director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“I’ll do whatever it takes, and that includes filibuster” to block CIA director Mike Pompeo’s nomination as secretary of state, and Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA, Paul said in an interview with CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper.
“I will try to make a point to the American people.” A filibuster would not actually block either of the two nominees if the majority of senators agree on their nominations, Paul said, but he hopes to be able to make a case, particularly on the nomination of Haspel.
Trump nominated Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state Monday, and nominated Gina Haspel, now deputy secretary at the CIA, to lead the agency. She would be the first woman to lead the spy agency if confirmed.
“Maybe the American people will rise up and say, you know, we stand in solidarity with those who seek freedom from torture, not the freedom to torture people,” Paul said.
Paul and others criticize Haspel for leading a black site in Thailand that conducted enhanced interrogations. A former CIA interrogator even described Haspel as instrumental in designing the enhanced techniques.
“This does not sound like someone who was simply ‘following orders,'” Paul wrote in a Politico op-ed Sunday. “This sounds like someone who was giving them, which I would argue is far worse.”
Paul also alleged that Haspel assisted in destroying tapes of prisoner interrogations.
The senator’s objection to Pompeo, an ardent Trump supporter, is due to his proclivity for military intervention, Paul said. “I frankly think that Pompeo’s positions are too much of an advocate for regime change, really everywhere. North Korea, Iran, Russia, you name it,” he said.
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