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.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto963299
Hinds9584195
Harrison6848109
Jackson6124118
Rankin528598
Lee484295
Madison4633105
Forrest368186
Jones345287
Lauderdale3350143
Lafayette315049
Washington3097107
Lamar281849
Oktibbeha239261
Bolivar239083
Lowndes228863
Neshoba2164115
Panola211749
Marshall208350
Leflore200890
Pontotoc194728
Monroe190277
Sunflower189755
Lincoln186165
Warren172257
Tate164251
Union160925
Pike160458
Copiah158940
Yazoo151239
Scott150229
Itawamba147634
Coahoma147443
Pearl River144467
Simpson144253
Alcorn143925
Prentiss140429
Grenada136945
Adams136548
Leake131843
Holmes124961
George122224
Tippah121530
Covington117636
Winston116624
Wayne115823
Hancock114139
Marion111046
Attala107833
Tishomingo106142
Newton102729
Chickasaw102432
Tallahatchie95527
Clarke88553
Clay87027
Jasper81122
Walthall75028
Stone72414
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71613
Carroll70614
Lawrence70214
Yalobusha69427
Noxubee69217
Smith68816
Perry65225
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54217
Humphreys52618
Amite51214
Benton48417
Quitman4796
Webster42014
Kemper40917
Wilkinson38622
Jefferson33811
Franklin3235
Choctaw3077
Sharkey30617
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
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