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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: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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