Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, announced Tuesday that he’ll support Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA director, a decision that will likely assure her confirmation.
Haspel has been a controversial choice, largely because she once ran a secret prison in Thailand where terrorism suspects were waterboarded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Warner said deciding how to vote on Haspel was a “difficult decision,” but he appreciated her recent letter that included more definitive criticism of the CIA’s interrogation program, which was ended years ago.
Two Federal Reserve nominees on Tuesday slammed Wells Fargo & Co., for its consumer abuses and indicated that they would have to see significant improvements before voting to lift a cap on the San Francisco bank’s growth.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, denied assertions Tuesday that deadly violence on the Gaza Strip border with Israel was motivated by the controversial transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem.
Israeli forces opened fire on angry stone-throwing Palestinian protesters on Monday, killing more than 50 and wounding hundreds. The violence occurred as the U.S. held an elaborate ceremony in Jerusalem inaugurating the embassy, with a high-level American delegation in attendance.
The Palestinians said they were demonstrating against the embassy and the dire conditions they are living under in Gaza, which is controlled by the militant group Hamas.
Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, said the agency should never have started the interrogation program that has been the most controversial part of her background during the confirmation process.
“With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken,” she wrote in a Monday letter to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The letter goes a step further in criticizing previous decisions at the agency, something Haspel was reluctant to do during her confirmation hearing last week despite pledging to never revive the secret prison network created by the CIA after the Sept. 11 attacks. She ran one of those facilities in Thailand.
President Trump’s stunning change in stance toward a Chinese telecom-equipment maker that his administration recently sanctioned drew widespread rebuke Monday, even as it seemed to increase the likelihood that the U.S. and China could soon pull back from the brink of a trade war.
A White House spokesperson insisted he did not know how an American Christian pastor had been chosen to offer prayers at Monday’s inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem after the minister was called a bigot for his view of non-Christian religions.
The Rev. Robert Jeffress, leader of a Southern Baptist church near Dallas and a spiritual advisor to President Trump, delivered the invocation at the ceremony in Jerusalem, attended by an official U.S. delegation featuring Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.
Jeffress has said Jews and other non-Christians, a group in which he includes Mormons, will go to hell — a belief he reconfirmed Monday.