Senate panel narrowly recommends Pompeo as US diplomatic chief

Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, narrowly won approval from a Senate panel Monday and is expected to be confirmed by the full chamber this week.

A last-minute vote flip by Republican Senator Rand Paul, who for weeks had expressed opposition to Pompeo over his stance on the Iraq war and surveillance issues, gave Pompeo a narrow edge — and avoided what would have been an embarrassing setback as the president seeks to install his top diplomat.

“We’ll report him to the floor in a positive manner,” committee chairman Senator Bob Corker said, following a vote that saw high tension over the absence of one lawmaker, and a changed vote from “no” to “present” by one Democrat in order to favorably report Pompeo’s nomination.