Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Vote Monday on Mike Pompeo

CIA chief Mike Pompeo, seen here at a Senate hearing last May, says his agency was not behind the recent unrest in Iran
AFP/ JIM WATSON

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced Thursday morning it will hold a vote for CIA Director Mike Pompeo Monday at 5 p.m. to confirm him as secretary of state.

The vote comes fresh off the news that Pompeo secretly met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend, to further lay the groundwork for President Trump and Kim’s upcoming meeting.

With more Republicans than Democrats on the committee, a vote confirming Pompeo is expected to make it out of committee, but he could run into trouble on the Senate floor, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) opposing him and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in Arizona recovering from cancer treatment.

Senate Democrats — some who even voted to confirm Pompeo as CIA Director — are now lining up against him as the nominee to become secretary of state, arguing he is not the right person for the job.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced last Friday that he would oppose Pompeo based on his personal stance that same-sex persons should not marry — the same views that former President Obama had when Booker endorsed him.

Booker has also refused to confirm Trump’s first prominent openly-gay appointee Ric Grenell for U.S. Ambassador to Germany, despite overwhelming support from gay rights groups.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on Wednesday came out against Pompeo, arguing that his record is “deeply troubling” and that he has not been forthcoming about the Russian investigation.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-M.D.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then came out against him, arguing that he would not be an independent voice advising the president.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Pompeo would not be a check on an “impulsive, inexperienced president” and restore the morale of the State Department.

Pompeo will need at least one Democrat — with Paul opposing and McCain absent — to help confirm him. Republicans control 51 seats in the Senate, but will need 50 votes to get him over the threshold.

Pompeo has courted Democrat votes, even calling former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to seek her advice before his confirmation hearing last week.

Democrats in red and purple states have yet to say how they will vote, including Sens. Joe Donnelly (R-IN), Maggie Hassan (NH), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV), and Claire McCaskill (MO) — who recently criticized Clinton.

This story was updated. 

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