President Donald Trump’s CIA director nominee, Gina Haspel, received a major boost on Tuesday after securing the vote of the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, paving the way for her to become the first female director of the CIA.
“I’m going to support Gina Haspel’s nomination to be Director of the CIA. I also respect my colleagues who have made a different decision,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
Warner called the decision to back Haspel “difficult,” but he was ultimately convinced to lend his support after questioning her privately.
“I found Acting Director Haspel to be more forthcoming regarding her views on the interrogation program,” Warner said.
“I acknowledge that this has been a difficult decision. There are valid questions that have been raised regarding the Acting Director’s record, and I have been frank with Ms. Haspel that I wish she had been more open with the American public during this process,” the Virginia senator wrote.
“I also take to heart the strong support Ms. Haspel has among rank-and-file members of the intelligence community and from intelligence community leaders who served under President Obama,” he added.
Last week, Warner expressed concern over Haspel’s nomination, urging her to fix her “unacceptable” lack of transparency during the confirmation process.
“As the acting Director of the CIA, it is in your power to order the declassification of relevant material or to hasten the process. I urge you to take immediate action to remedy these problems,” Warner said.
However, Warner’s backing of Haspel on Tuesday, along with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), means the acting director is all but certain to be confirmed following a Senate vote next week.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is also set to vote Wednesday on Haspel’s nomination, and it appears she’s ready to get out of committee with a favorable recommendation.