Senators face choice on CIA director nominee ahead of key votes

Republican leaders believe that ...

Posted: May 14, 2018 8:22 PM
Updated: May 14, 2018 8:22 PM

Republican leaders believe that Gina Haspel will be confirmed to be the next director of the CIA, though a few notable lawmakers -- red state Democrats and Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski -- are still undecided.

Last week, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain announced his opposition to Haspel, a factor that is weighing on Flake and others.

But over the weekend, Haspel's supporters got a large boost once Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly said he would support her nomination -- joining West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin as the second Democrat to do so. While Donnelly's decision does not assure Haspel's confirmation, it does help solidify the numbers needed to get her through the chamber. Expect more senators to make their decisions public this week.

RELATED: Here's how senators say they'll vote on CIA director nominee Haspel

Flake said he has "always shared McCain's views on the issue" of torture and added that he believes McCain's statement will "affect everyone."

Some lawmakers are urging the Department of Justice to release a document from John Durham, the federal prosecutor who was tapped to investigate the destruction of the tapes in 2008 and closed the case in 2010 without bringing any charges. The report is a look at how tapes of the enhanced interrogation program were destroyed, but right now it is only available to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The vote on Haspel in the Senate Intelligence Committee could come this week with a full Senate vote potentially before the end of the month.

'Discharge petition' for immigration solution

Immigration will be back in the spotlight as a group of House Republicans seeks to buck GOP leadership by using a procedural maneuver to force a vote on four competing immigration bills with a procedural maneuver known as a discharge petition.

With the likely help of all Democrats, the group thinks they can get enough Republicans on board to get the number of signatures needed -- a majority of the House -- to trigger floor votes.

RELATED: Here's how lawmakers could force a DACA vote in the House

Republicans had 18 signatures by the end of the week and need at least seven more to feel confident that they have the numbers. House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the effort Thursday, saying none of the four immigration bills will get the President's signature.

"I would like to have an immigration vote before the midterms, but I want to have a vote on something that can make it into law," he said. "I don't want to have, you know, show ponies."

RELATED: Bernie Sanders calls separating parents and children at the border 'heartless'

But if Republicans cross the threshold of signatures, it would prompt a heated immigration debate on the House floor that was previously unexpected this year.

Cabinet secretaries on the Hill

Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator to the Environmental Protection Agency, will return to Capitol Hill this week to testify before a Senate Appropriations Committee about the fiscal year 2019 budget for his agency.

Pruitt, despite a continuous stream of reports and allegations of financial improprieties and the subject of more than 10 separate federal inquiries into his activities, appears to still enjoy the support of the President, who reiterated his confidence in Pruitt late last week.

RELATED: Memo says Pruitt flew first class to avoid 'lashing out from passengers'

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will appear before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to testify on her department's budget for the next fiscal year, just a week after a contentious Cabinet meeting at the White House, when she and President Trump reportedly had, according to a source, "angry and heated" disagreement over the President's belief that his DHS Secretary isn't doing enough to secure the border.

Russia meddling hearing

The Senate intelligence committee will hear from several marquee former intelligence officials -- James Comey was invited but isn't confirmed -- about a January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian meddling in recent elections.

The hearing is part of the committee's investigation into alleged election interference by Russia.

Former director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan and former director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers are scheduled to appear.

Farm bill

Also on the docket in the House is a five-year farm bill, a massive piece of legislation that sets the eating and farming policy in the United States, including what the US grows and how much the government spends in the process, for about five years. The last one was signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2014.

RELATED: House GOP bill would lock the poor out of food stamps if they don't work

Democrats are expected to oppose the bill due to stricter work requirements tied to the SNAP program, while it's unclear at this point whether Republicans have enough votes within their own ranks to pass it.

This story has been updated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 95310

Reported Deaths: 2874
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7032159
DeSoto547759
Harrison380573
Jackson343069
Madison323386
Rankin322577
Lee265468
Jones245279
Forrest242571
Washington219772
Lafayette213739
Lauderdale2038125
Bolivar181366
Oktibbeha176350
Lamar165534
Neshoba1556104
Panola145527
Lowndes144958
Sunflower143946
Warren138450
Leflore138381
Pontotoc124916
Pike122450
Monroe120768
Scott117126
Copiah116633
Coahoma114428
Holmes109558
Marshall108516
Lincoln107553
Grenada107236
Yazoo104630
Simpson101844
Union98824
Tate96237
Leake94638
Adams92637
Wayne88821
Pearl River87053
Marion84535
Prentiss83417
Covington81322
Itawamba78721
Alcorn78611
Newton76723
Tallahatchie76421
George75913
Winston73519
Chickasaw66724
Tishomingo66738
Tippah65417
Attala65325
Walthall59525
Clay58518
Hancock57221
Clarke57045
Jasper56215
Noxubee54616
Smith52914
Calhoun50812
Tunica48213
Claiborne45916
Montgomery45820
Lawrence42912
Yalobusha42314
Perry41618
Humphreys37515
Quitman3735
Stone36512
Greene35917
Jefferson Davis33511
Webster33313
Amite32110
Carroll31412
Wilkinson30218
Kemper28815
Sharkey26513
Jefferson2449
Benton2232
Franklin1923
Choctaw1816
Issaquena1043
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 133433

Reported Deaths: 2349
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19306349
Mobile13233291
Montgomery8748177
Madison770978
Tuscaloosa7418116
Lee579261
Shelby578750
Baldwin514149
Marshall389244
Etowah340247
Calhoun340140
Morgan323926
Houston276423
Elmore259647
DeKalb237519
St. Clair226337
Walker225383
Talladega210628
Limestone203319
Cullman186818
Dallas175926
Franklin175229
Russell17322
Autauga171525
Lauderdale167333
Colbert162926
Blount158015
Escambia157725
Jackson154011
Chilton152431
Dale134644
Covington133427
Coffee12988
Pike11799
Chambers114442
Tallapoosa113885
Clarke107017
Marion95429
Butler91139
Barbour8517
Winston71812
Marengo70519
Lowndes65227
Pickens64514
Bibb63810
Randolph62713
Hale61928
Lawrence60522
Bullock59714
Geneva5864
Cherokee58315
Monroe5808
Clay5547
Washington55113
Perry5396
Conecuh53011
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw52732
Henry4835
Macon47920
Fayette4358
Sumter43219
Lamar3572
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3356
Greene30315
Coosa1673
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