UPDATE: Via WaPo, President Trump persuaded Rand Paul to back Pompeo, while Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) voted present to allow the nomination to head to the Senate for a full vote. Pompeo’s nomination passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 11-9, with one vote present:
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) agreed to vote present, procedurally making it possible to send Pompeo’s nomination to the floor.
The vote was 11 in favor, 9 opposed and 1 voting present. Only 10 of the 11 senators who backed Pompeo were present in the committee room, making Coons’s switch — from opposed to simply present — necessary to clear the nomination.
President Trump personally intervened Monday to convince a committed Republican naysayer to back Mike Pompeo for secretary of state, possibly securing the backing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a favored adviser whose committee vote, if not his ultimate confirmation, seemed in grave jeopardy.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who pledged to oppose Pompeo the day after he was nominated, tweeted about Trump’s outreach and his newfound support for Pompeo on Monday just moments before the committee vote started, seemingly saving face for the nominee, who was expected to fail the panel vote but secure the support of the full Senate later this week.
It’s over. The emerging Democratic opposition to CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be our next secretary of state is no longer a threat. He won’t be derailed. He won’t be blocked. He will be confirmed. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) looked to make things interesting on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With Sen. John McCain’s absence due to cancer, the slim Republican majority could no longer afford any more defections. Pompeo would need Democratic support. And he got that with Sens. Heidi Heitkamp(D-SD), Joe Manchin(D-WV), and Joe Donnelly(D-IN)—all red state Democrats who hail from states where Trump won by 10+ points or more and all are up for re-election this year (via Politico):
Clarifying: Rand Paul voted favorably in committee to recommend John Kerry as Obama's Sec State and later voted to confirm him. Paul is set oppose Mike Pompeo in both settings.— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) April 23, 2018
Sen. Rand Paul said he will vote for Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be secretary of state, paving the way for the CIA director to win approval from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and ultimately be confirmed on the Senate floor.
The Kentucky Republican had previously criticized Pompeo’s hawkish past. But he tweeted Monday that he had received assurances that Pompeo agrees with President Donald Trump that “Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan.
Now, even before this, Heitkamp’s support would have put Pompeo over the top, as his nomination was going to go to the full Senate regardless of how the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted. So, Pompeo can now rest easy.