Democrats block Pompeo CIA confirmation vote amid Trump’s feud with intel

McClatchy reports: An objection from three Democratic senators will delay the U.S. Senate’s vote to confirm Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said on Friday that they oppose “a rushed confirmation” of Rep. Mike Pompeo to serve as CIA director unless senators get the opportunity to debate the nomination.

“The importance of the position of CIA Director, especially in these dangerous times, demands that the nomination be thoroughly vetted, questioned and debated,” the senators said in a statement.

The vote had been expected to happen on Friday, after the swearing-in of Donald Trump as the 45th president.

The move means Trump likely will start his presidency without his own nominee at the head of the CIA.

The senators said the CIA can protect the nation “under the leadership of its senior professional personnel” in the meantime.

“Certainly the incoming administration acknowledges that this would be consistent with their decision to hold over 50 current administration national security appointees,” the senators said. “Our constituents expect Congress to be a check and balance on the incoming administration, not a rubber stamp.”

The CIA is locked in a battle with Trump over allegations that the Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind an effort to sway the election in Trump’s favor. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports: Newly-inaugurated President Donald Trump is settling into office this weekend with a mostly-empty Cabinet that will likely take weeks to fill.

He has a nasty nominations war in the Senate to blame.

Even as the chamber cleared two national security nominees on Friday, and vowed to take up a third on Monday, Democrats are threatening a prolonged fight over key administration posts, including for secretary of state, attorney general and Treasury secretary. [Continue reading…]

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