GOP Senator vows to block Trump appointees

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said he will oppose confirmation of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the next Secretary of State and Gina Haspel to take over as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the most recent high level nominees submitted by President Donald Trump.

“What I liked about candidate Trump was his strong condemnation of the Iraq War,” said Paul. “I believe President Trump has done a great job, and I continue to support him, but I cannot endorse his nomination of people who loved the Iraq War so much that they want an Iran War next. Director Pompeo has not learned the lessons of regime change and wants regime change in Iran.

“I can’t support people who never understood America First and want to manipulate the President into the sphere of the neocons who never met a war they didn’t want to star in,” Paul said.

“President Trump sought to break with the foreign policy mistakes of the last two administrations,” said Paul. “Yet now he picks for Secretary of State and CIA Director people who embody them, defend them, and, I’m afraid, will repeat them. I will not support their nominations.”

In addition to Pompeo’s stance on foreign policy, the Republican Senator said he is also concerned about his previous statements supporting the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding.

Paul also expressed concern over Pompeo’s support for maintaining and expanding the growing surveillance state, including his call in a 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed for Congress to “pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database.”

Paul said he believes that Haspel’s record on torture, including running a CIA “black site” prison in Thailand, should disqualify her from consideration for the position.

Among other things, Haspel supervised brutal inquisitors and destroyed videotapes of detainees who were interrogated torture.

Trump announced his choices of Pompeo and Haspel after abruptly firing rex Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO, who has been in the top State Department job and fourth in the line of succession to the presidency since the new administration began last year.

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