Rand Paul under pressure as Pompeo hunts for votes
© Camille Fine

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSome employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says Dems inflated Puerto Rico death toll | House cancels Friday votes | Florence starts to hit coast The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Facing major hurricane, Trump is tested MORE (R-Ky.) is facing renewed pressure from President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE and some of his Senate colleagues to support Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force outlines plan for biggest force since end of Cold War | Trump admin slashes refugee cap | Mattis accuses Russia of meddling in Macedonia's NATO bid Hillicon Valley: Elon Musk sued by diver from Thai cave rescue | Researchers find new malware family | FEMA delays new presidential alert test Trump administration to cut refugee admissions to 30K for 2019 MORE for secretary of State as the administration hunts for votes.

Paul’s opposition is complicating Pompeo’s path to confirmation. Republicans are hoping to pass his nomination next week before leaving town for a recess.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCriticizing Trump’s ‘unsung success’ in Puerto Rico is valid — empty rhetoric is not Biden: Delay Kavanaugh vote to give accuser a fair, respectful hearing Ken Starr says 'I trust Brett Kavanaugh' over allegations that are 'so wildly out of character' MORE (R-S.C.), who frequently battles with Paul on foreign policy, vented Thursday about Paul’s opposition.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I hope that Sen. Paul will reconsider because if he changed his view then this would be over, and it really does bother me,” he said. “He ran for president; I ran for president; Trump beat us both. ... The election is over.”

With Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampKavanaugh becomes September surprise for midterm candidates Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow MORE (D-N.D.) becoming the first Democrat to say she will vote for Pompeo on Thursday, Republicans likely won’t need Paul’s support to confirm him on the Senate floor.

But Paul's opposition is poised to make Pompeo the first secretary of State nominee since the mid-1920s — before which committee business was largely conducted in secret — to be moved to the floor despite getting an unfavorable committee vote.

Republicans only hold a one-seat majority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

With Paul, a member of the panel, expected to vote “no” during the committee’s Monday vote, Pompeo would need to pick up the support of at least one Democrat to get majority support.

So far, no Democrat has stepped forward. Sen. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSunday shows preview: White House officials on offensive in wake of anonymous NY Times op-ed Congress and Trump are out of step on intellectual property White House drops plan to cut foreign aid MORE (Del.) is the only Democratic member who hasn’t said how he will vote. He previously opposed Pompeo to be CIA director and has said he’s leaning against Pompeo’s current nomination.

President Trump, who has been an ally of Paul's, has upped the pressure on him to support Pompeo.

During a working lunch, Trump said that he has “a lot of confidence” in Paul.

“Rand Paul has never let me down. ... I don’t think he will let us down again,” Trump said.

Winning over Paul, whose foreign policy views often clash with members of his own caucus, might be out of reach even for Trump.

Though Paul met with Pompeo on Thursday, he appeared unmoved after the closed-door powwow.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerMurkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, signaled getting Paul on board was unlikely.

“I’ll leave him to the president,” he said while smiling, when asked if Paul could be won over.

Corker then interrupted a reporter who was asking a question on another topic, to turn around and add: “He’s a friend of mine, but I’ll let the president deal with that.”

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senators condemn 'vulgar' messages directed at Collins over Kavanaugh GOP turns its fire on Google Overnight Defense: Trump denies report he's looking at Mattis replacements | Inhofe officially gets Armed Services gavel | Trump revives shutdown threat MORE (R-Ark.) warned Democrats to support Pompeo and not “conspire” with Paul to block Pompeo’s nomination.

“Sen. Paul has unusual foreign policy views that are not representative of the Republican Senate caucus,” he said to reporters.