Senate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee
© Greg Nash

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Wednesday to send Gina Haspel's nomination to the floor, setting up a final vote on the nominee as soon as this week.

Two Democrats, Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerConservatives leery of FBI deal on informant Overnight Finance: House sends Dodd-Frank rollbacks to Trump | What's in the bill | Trump says there is 'no deal' to help ZTE | Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews DHS secretary says she hasn’t seen assessment that Russia interfered to help Trump win MORE (Va.), the vice chairman of the committee, and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Finance: House sends Dodd-Frank rollbacks to Trump | What's in the bill | Trump says there is 'no deal' to help ZTE | Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews House votes to ease regulation of banks, sending bill to Trump Senators demand answers on Trump’s ZTE deal MORE (W.Va.), sided with Republicans in approving her nomination in a 10-5 vote during a closed committee meeting. 

“As Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel will be the first operations officer in more than five decades to lead the Agency. ... Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral – like a return to torture," Warner said in a statement after the vote.

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Haspel's background as a career CIA officer who played a role in the agency's use of interrogation and detention policies viewed as torture has been the key debate in her confirmation process.

Many critics of Haspel said that her work in the post-Sept. 11 CIA was disqualifying for someone who wanted to lead the agency. 

Her defenders said she is highly qualified to run the agency and was following orders in the environment that followed the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.

At her confirmation hearing, Haspel repudiated the programs and said she would not allow their return. 

Senate GOP leaders have signaled that they want to try to confirm her as soon as Thursday, though without cooperation from Democrats that could slide into next week. 

So far, five Democrats have said they will vote for Haspel: Warner, Manchin, Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampTrump urges anti-abortion advocates to rally in November House votes to ease regulation of banks, sending bill to Trump Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade MORE (N.D.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonPoll: 8 in 10 people in key states concerned about driverless cars Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson give NASA a reality check on privatizing International Space Station Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Haspel as CIA chief | Trump offers Kim 'protections' if he gives up nukes | Dem amendments target Trump military parade MORE (Fla.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — House passes 'right to try' drug bill | Trump moves to restrict abortion referrals House votes to ease regulation of banks, sending bill to Trump House approves 'right to try,' sends bill to Trump's desk MORE (Ind.). 
 
All of them, except for Warner, up for reelection in red and purple states carried by Trump in the 2016 election. 
 
Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.), a red-state Democrat who faces election in 2020, announced that he would oppose her. 
 
 
Haspel has won over Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP Senate primary heats up in Montana Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Senate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee MORE (R-Utah), who is a close ally of Paul's. A spokesman for the libertarian-minded senator said he would support Haspel after meeting with her on Tuesday. 
 
A few senators remain on the fence. 
 
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump urges anti-abortion advocates to rally in November Calif. gov candidates battle for second place Senate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee MORE (Mo.), viewed as one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection, has yet to say how she will vote.