Vulnerable Democratic Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly announced Saturday that he will support Gina Haspel to lead the CIA, likely ensuring her confirmation.
Donnelly is facing a rough re-election race this fall in a state that Trump won by 19 percentage points. Many Democrats and some Republicans oppose Haspel because she oversaw in 2002 a CIA black site that tortured terror suspects.
Donnelly said that he had a “tough, frank and extensive discussion with Ms. Haspel on a wide range of topics, including her vision for the agency and how she would approach the job, as well as issues of detention and interrogation.”
“I believe that she has learned from the past, and that the CIA under her leadership can help our country confront serious international threats and challenges,” he added.
Donnelly will face businessman Mike Braun in the general election this fall.
He joins fellow vulnerable Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia in supporting Haspel.
On the Republican side, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is opposed to Haspel, citing her role in the brutal interrogation program.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is recovering from brain cancer treatment in his home state, said in a statement earlier this week that he is opposed to Haspel, claiming she failed to adequately answer questions about her role in the torture program during a confirmation hearing last week. McCain himself was subjected to extensive torture while he was captured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.
Haspel promised senators on Wednesday that she would not reinstate an enhanced interrogation program if she’s confirmed to lead the CIA.
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