Senator Menendez to vote against Pompeo as secretary of state

Erika Holt
April 20, 2018

"I will not be supporting his nomination to be Secretary of State", Cardin wrote on Twitter. Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Tuesday said he was "still waiting for some information from him".

As Sen. John McCain remains absent from the Senate as he battles brain cancer, the close votes are even closer and Republicans cannot afford any dissent.

On Wednesday, the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen.

President Donald Trump disclosed on Twitter that Pompeo had met secretly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - which puts pressure on the Senate to confirm Pompeo so the president can have his designated top diplomat at the table when he meets with the North Korean strongman, possibly in June.

But for other Democrats who supported Pompeo in the past, the revelation that he is already conducting high-level diplomacy for the Trump administration could be the cover they need to back his bid to lead the State Department. Pompeo met directly with Kim, who since taking power in 2011 has ramped up the country's nuclear weapons program despite overwhelming global condemnation. "Some here worry you're going to be too much in agreement with the president, I worry you're going to be too much in disagreement with the president".

He also dismissed the importance of next week's Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on Pompeo, calling the Pompeo critics on that committee "two-bit Talleyrands" and stating that if a majority of the panel fails to support Pompeo, "the Senate will set them straight".

But with stiff opposition from Democrats - and at least one Republican, Sen. "I don't think he will let us down again".

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Meanwhile, the White House is working behind the scenes to break Democrat opposition to Pompeo, particularly in the Foreign Relations Committee. Under Pompeo's leadership, the CIA was able to strengthen USA intelligence on North Korea, leading to the interdiction of shipments to the Hermit Kingdom in violation of United Nations sanctions. That they have to do this in the first place is unprecedented: Historically, secretaries of state have sailed through the confirmation vote. He mentioned Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Without Paul's support, and with the potential absence of Senator John McCain, who is in Arizona undergoing treatment for brain cancer, Pompeo would require support from Democrats to be confirmed.

Other key swing votes, congressional sources say, include Sens.

Trump initially tapped Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency director, one of his first Cabinet nominees in 2017, and they became close allies.

The Senate panel has rarely failed to back a White House nominee for secretary of state.

Paul has adamantly refused to support Trump's nominee due to his objections to some of Pompeo's foreign policy positions.

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