President Trump's CIA director nominee, Gina Haspel, has fallen under intense scrutiny for her support of enhanced interrogation methods deployed by the United States in the immediate wake of 9/11 to protect the country. Her refusal to disavow such as actions has lost the support of Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky. But, any potential damage done by this lack of support for could be negated by Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
On Saturday morning, Sen. Donnelly announced that he will be voting to confirm Haspel after a"tough, frank, and extensive discussion."
Donnelly adds that he is confident that Haspel has "learned from the past, and that the CIA under her leadership can help our country confront serious international threats and challenges."
Sen. Donnelly joins Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia as the only two Democrats to support Haspel.
This stance strikes in contrast to other Democratic senators who refuse to support Haspel, despite endorsing President Obama's CIA director nominee who also advocated torture in the early 2000s. As seen in thefollowing video, this hypocrisy was highlighted by Laura Ingraham earlier this week.
As noted by Matt yesterday, some commentators on the left are fed up with this hypocrisy as well. Folks such as Joe Scarborough are wondering whether or not opposition to Haspel is not based on her qualifications, but is done so in order to produce soundbites for their base.
"MSNBC, which is not a friendly territory for this administration, even pointed this out this morning. Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who caucuses with Senate Democrats, said he would oppose Haspel. No legitimate reason was given, but one could conclude it’s because Trump nominated her. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough asked if yesterday’s hearing was just a sideshow for the Democratic base because no one could be that stupid and not know what Haspel was going to respond concerning our waterboarding program."
Regardless, Donnelly's support makes it more likely that Haspel will indeed be nominated the first female CIA director.