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Top US Senate intelligence Democrat backs Trump CIA nominee

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The top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday he would support President Donald Trump’s nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, all but ensuring her confirmation as the first woman to lead the spy agency.

Senator Mark Warner said it had been a “difficult decision,” but cited Haspel’s 33-year career at the CIA and support from its workforce and past intelligence community leaders.

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“Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral – like a return to torture,” Warner said in a statement.

In a letter to Warner dated Monday, Haspel said the CIA should not have undertaken a past harsh interrogation program, which has been a focus of debate over her confirmation.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is due to vote on Wednesday on whether to approve Haspel. With Warner’s support, she is expected to have the backing of all eight committee Republicans and at least two of the seven Democrats.

Despite criticism – including from Republican Senators Rand Paul and John McCain – because of past ties to the CIA’s former rendition, detention and interrogation activities, Haspel is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate next week.

At least three other Democrats, all up for re-election this year in Republican-leaning states, have also said they support Haspel. On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota announced she would be a “yes.”

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Haspel pledged at her confirmation hearing that she would never restart the program, in place after the Sept. 11 attacks but did not go as far as saying it should not have been started.

Haspel in 2002 served as station chief in Thailand, where the CIA conducted interrogations at a secret prison using methods including waterboarding, widely viewed as torture.

Three years later, she drafted a cable ordering the destruction of videotapes of those interrogations.

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“While I won’t condemn those that made those hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world,” Haspel said in the letter.

“With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior Agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken. The United States must be an example to the rest of the world, and I support that,” Haspel said.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Dan Grebler and Cynthia Osterman


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Lev Parnas’s lawyer declared ‘open war’ on AG Bill Barr during Maddow interview: attorney

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The attorney for Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas appears to be using a novel legal strategy, attorney Luppe Luppen explained on Friday.

Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Parnas, was interviewed Friday evening by Rachel Maddow, following the day's end of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Luppen, who offers legal analysis on his popular @nycsouthpaw Twitter account, came to a conclusion that seemed to surprise him after watching the interview.

"I’ve never seen a lawyer sit on a cable panel show and make that much news," Luppen wrote.

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Democratic prosecutors wrap up case against Trump

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Democratic prosecutors on Friday wrapped up three days of arguments for seeking Donald Trump's removal from office, as the US president's lawyers prepared to take their turn presenting his defense in the Senate's historic impeachment trial.

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Democrats said they had met the burden of proof as they warned Republicans that Trump would remain a grave danger to the nation if left in office.

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‘Give me a break’: Internet unleashes on ‘snowflakes’ Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for complaint about Schiff

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CNN's Manu Raju revealed after the Senate adjourned that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) audibly disputed Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) quotation of a CBS News report threatening senators.

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https://twitter.com/GriffinConnolly/status/1220891285910892544

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