Trump picks Rep. Pompeo as CIA chief

Trump picks Rep. Pompeo as CIA chief
© Greg Nash

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans hold on to Arizona House seat Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Mulvaney to bankers: Campaign donations will help limit consumer bureau's power MORE has selected Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to lead the CIA.

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Pompeo accepted the offer to replace current CIA Director John Brennan. It came moments after reports emerged that Trump tapped Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCalifornia secession movement cleared to begin collecting signatures Sessions declines to recuse himself from Cohen probe: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ala.) to be his attorney general.

“I am honored and humbled to accept the President-elect’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency," Pompeo said in a statement.

He said he had loved representing Kansas in Congress, "but ultimately the opportunity to lead the world’s finest intelligence warriors, who labor tirelessly to keep this nation and Kansas safe, is a call to service I cannot ignore."

Reuters first reported the selection on Pompeo on Friday morning.

Pompeo is considered a serious — and hawkish — member of the Republican national security establishment.

In being nominated to lead the CIA, the House lawmaker appears to have leapfrogged his chairman on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who was one of several names being floated for the post this week.  

After graduating first in his class from West Point, Pompeo served as a cavalry officer before heading to Harvard Law School, where he overlapped with Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCambridge Analytica whistleblower briefs House Dems After Dems stood against Pompeo, Senate’s confirmation process needs a revamp Cruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump MORE (R-Texas).

After winning an open seat in Kansas, Pompeo made it a priority to join the Intelligence Committee, where he now sits. He was a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi and helps to lead a task force that earlier this year confirmed allegations that intelligence about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria had been manipulated by senior officials at the military’s Central Command.

In recent years, Pompeo has made his name as a particularly vocal critic of the Obama administration’s policy on Iran and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDems flip New York state seat that Republicans have held for nearly four decades Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Chelsea Clinton hits back at NYT reporter over details in new book MORE’s actions during the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Along with Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonThe Hill's Morning Report - Lawsuits, investigations send Trump on Twitter tirade GOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Sunday Shows Preview: Emmanuel Macron talks ahead of state dinner MORE (R-Ark.), Pompeo tried to shed light on side deals between Iran and United Nations inspectors. He also tried unsuccessfully to visit Iran earlier this year to observe the country’s elections.

On the Benghazi committee, Pompeo went above and beyond the panel’s conclusions to say that Clinton's actions were “morally reprehensible.”

This summer, he ruled out launching a primary challenge against Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranTrump's VA nominee allegedly banged on female employee's hotel door while drunk: report Trump's nominee for the VA is on the ropes Overnight Health Care: Teen pregnancy program to focus on abstinence | Insurers warn against short-term health plan proposal | Trump VA pick faces tough sell MORE (R-Kan.) after initially contemplating a jump to the upper chamber. 

Brennan, who Pompeo would replace, was a frequent critic of Trump during the campaign. In September, he rejected Trump’s claim that intelligence officials were unhappy with President Obama.

And in July, he seemingly suggested he would step down if Trump followed through on his push to bring back so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding.

 

Jonathan Swan contributed.

Updated at 10:45 a.m.