Sen. Rand Paul reverses stance in last-minute drama over Mike Pompeo

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Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who was among the last Democrats on the foreign relations panel to announce his no vote, said he is concerned that Pompeo "will embolden, rather than moderate or restrain" Trump's "most belligerent and risky instincts".

"Employees at the Central Intelligence Agency have given Mike Pompeo high marks for his performance, his support for the workforce and advocacy for their mission". It has been nearly 30 years since any Cabinet nominee was reported to the full Senate with an unfavorable recommendation.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday evening approved the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo for secretary of state in an 11-9 vote.

Paul said Pompeo also told him he now also wants to end the USA involvement in Afghanistan. Trump has publicly mused about firing Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But Democrats resisted easy confirmation of the nation's top diplomat, and support peeled.

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If Paul had not reversed his position, Pompeo would have become the first secretary of state-nominee on record to be rejected by the committee, according to the Senate Historical Office. But other Democrats have been peeling away, and Pompeo is not likely to have enough support Monday for a favorable recommendation from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"I have changed my mind", Paul said, explaining he received reassurances that Pompeo agrees with the president that the Iraq war was a "mistake" and that it is time for USA troops to leave Afghanistan. "I'm particularly concerned because of his past comments on regime change in North Korea and Iran".

The full Senate is still expected to consider Pompeo's nomination later this week. "The left, the base on the Democratic side abhors the president, and I realize many of them just don't want to do anything that shows a proxy of support for Trump by voting for his secretary of state", Corker said. It would be extraordinary for the Senate to confirm Pompeo after the committee did not vote to recommend him.

Republicans hold just a slim Senate majority, 50-49, with the prolonged absence of Sen.

The Republican leader says he looks "forward to upholding the tradition of this body and voting to confirm him this week". "The State Department needs that same energy, fire and purposeful direction today, at a time when our country faces numerous threats and challenges that demand strong diplomacy", he said. They needed his vote, but he was speaking at a memorial service.

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