Gina Haspel sought to withdraw nomination to be CIA director

Gina Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination as President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA on Friday after some ...

Posted: May 7, 2018 11:10 AM
Updated: May 7, 2018 11:10 AM

Gina Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination as President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA on Friday after some White House officials raised concerns with her about her ability to get confirmed, several sources familiar with the nomination have told CNN.

During the meeting, Haspel offered to withdraw if that would help the situation, two of the sources said.

Later that day White House legislative affairs director Marc Short and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders went to CIA headquarters in Virginia to talk to Haspel, two of the sources said. Eventually the tension seemed to ease, and as of now her nomination stands, the sources said.

Haspel faces a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. Her nomination would be in jeopardy only if she loses the support of Republicans, who hold a slim 51-49 seat majority in the Senate.

Two sources said Haspel participated in a practice session Friday -- called a "murder board" -- to prepare for the hearing, a sign the nomination was moving forward.

While the White House has been concerned about her past involvement with the CIA's controversial interrogation program, administration officials said they ultimately believe she will get confirmed.

The Washington Post first reported Haspel's offer to withdraw. A 33-year CIA veteran, Haspel was summoned to the White House to answer questions about her role in the interrogation program, the Post reported.

Haspel feared becoming "the next Ronny Jackson," the White House physician who withdrew his nomination as Veterans Affairs secretary amid questions about alleged misconduct on the job, one official told the Post. Jackson no longer works as Trump's personal physician but remains in the White House Medical Unit.

The newspaper said Trump learned of the situation on Friday and called officials while in Dallas for the National Rifle Association convention. After initially signaling he would support whatever decision was taken, Trump decided to push for Haspel to remain the nominee, according to the newspaper.

By Saturday, Haspel had agreed to continue with her nomination, officials told the Post.

Both Short and Sanders declined to comment to the Post about Haspel's offer to withdraw.

"There is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the CIA than 30+ year CIA veteran Gina Haspel," Sanders wrote on Twitter Saturday. "Any Democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite."

Raj Shah, the White House principal deputy press secretary, said in a statement Sunday, "Acting Director (Gina) Haspel is a highly qualified nominee who has dedicated over three decades of service to her country. Her nomination will not be derailed by partisan critics who side with the ACLU over the CIA on how to keep the American people safe."

Two potential sticking points in Haspel's nomination are her past oversight of a CIA "black site" in Thailand in 2002 and her involvement in the destruction of CIA videotapes showing the waterboarding of terrorism suspects in 2005, although the CIA released an internal review last month absolving Haspel of responsibility.

The official who conducted the review, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, told CNN that Haspel had merely drafted a cable under instruction from her boss, former clandestine chief Jose Rodriguez, "that he sent, under his name and authority, ordering that the tapes be destroyed."

A CIA spokesperson told CNN on Sunday, "There has been a fascinating phenomenon over the last few weeks. Those who know the true Gina Haspel -- who worked with her, who served with her, who helped her confront terrorism, Russia and countless other threats to our nation -- they almost uniformly support her."

"When the American people finally have a chance to see the true Gina Haspel on Wednesday, they will understand why she is so admired and why she is and will be a great leader for this Agency," the spokesperson said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 471092

Reported Deaths: 9165
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32160471
Hinds30628574
DeSoto29693344
Jackson23098335
Rankin21062357
Lee14515218
Madison13993264
Jones13112218
Forrest12926231
Lauderdale11301294
Lowndes10206171
Lamar10017125
Pearl River8616208
Lafayette8052136
Hancock7172111
Washington6816146
Oktibbeha6799117
Neshoba6377201
Monroe6343158
Warren6310159
Pontotoc607692
Panola6056123
Bolivar5991143
Marshall5948116
Union562385
Pike5450133
Lincoln5217129
Alcorn516288
George456466
Scott450392
Leflore4392140
Prentiss435275
Itawamba433295
Tippah432480
Simpson4251110
Copiah424784
Wayne422363
Tate4202100
Adams4184110
Yazoo412486
Sunflower4077104
Covington406591
Marion4016100
Leake390485
Coahoma387098
Newton361674
Grenada3511100
Stone343757
Tishomingo323788
Attala319685
Jasper309562
Winston299191
Clay286172
Chickasaw280564
Clarke275587
Calhoun258539
Holmes258585
Smith242246
Yalobusha216447
Tallahatchie214949
Walthall204657
Lawrence203231
Greene202645
Perry195753
Webster191642
Amite191451
Noxubee174438
Montgomery169453
Jefferson Davis164341
Carroll159437
Tunica147634
Benton138232
Kemper136939
Claiborne125534
Choctaw124424
Humphreys123037
Franklin114327
Quitman101425
Wilkinson98435
Jefferson86332
Sharkey61720
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 761865

Reported Deaths: 12856
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1087131712
Mobile696141168
Madison47959565
Baldwin35517431
Shelby34948283
Tuscaloosa32719498
Montgomery32358648
Lee21708200
Calhoun19823367
Morgan19140308
Etowah18450414
Marshall17138255
Houston15970340
St. Clair14803270
Limestone13986179
Elmore13893240
Cullman13892229
Lauderdale12986264
Talladega12235203
DeKalb11788220
Walker10110304
Autauga9416120
Blount9329149
Jackson9026132
Coffee8598153
Colbert8257160
Dale8204143
Escambia639399
Tallapoosa6315165
Covington6265153
Chilton6188128
Russell588353
Franklin560093
Chambers5182127
Dallas4595174
Marion4540114
Clarke447871
Pike441488
Geneva419499
Winston402682
Lawrence4018101
Bibb392976
Barbour335567
Marengo318878
Monroe308244
Butler307679
Pickens297366
Henry290752
Randolph290055
Hale284081
Cherokee277249
Fayette269769
Washington242244
Crenshaw229463
Clay220261
Macon212554
Cleburne207346
Lamar185538
Conecuh175237
Lowndes168156
Coosa161531
Wilcox153533
Bullock146242
Perry133132
Sumter122735
Greene118241
Choctaw71925
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