Kaine to oppose Haspel to lead CIA
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KainePoll: Kaine leads GOP challenger by 19 points in Va. Senate race GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser Corey Stewart fires aide who helped bring far-right ideas to campaign: report MORE (Va.) said on Friday that he will oppose CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel's nomination to lead the spy agency.

Kaine — who previously voted for Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Latest on Korea talks | Trump says summit results 'very exciting!' | Congress to get Space Force plan in February | Trump asked CIA about silent bombs Pompeo: US ready to 'immediately' resume talks with North Korea READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV MORE to lead the CIA — pointed to Haspel's involvement in the agency's "enhanced interrogation" program, which is now widely viewed as torture, as his reasoning for the vote.

"I believe her role in the Agency’s use of torture and efforts to destroy evidence of it was neither minor nor incidental. In particular, I was especially disturbed that she personally wrote a cable ordering the destruction of videotape evidence of the Agency’s use of torture," Kaine said in a statement.

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Kaine's decision comes after Haspel testified on Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where she was pressed by Democrats on her views about the morality of torture and the destruction of the videotapes.

Kaine separately met with Haspel on Thursday.

Kaine also pointed to GOP Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us MORE (Ariz.), saying he echoed "my colleague John McCain’s disappointment in Gina Haspel’s failure to condemn it as immoral during her hearing."

"I believe the CIA needs leadership that not only honors the rule of law but meets a higher calling to the moral principles of our nation," he said.

Haspel faces a narrow path to confirmation with GOP leadership wanting to move her nomination before they leave for a weeklong Memorial Day recess.

Republicans hold a fragile 51-seat majority in the Senate. With GOP Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (Ky.) opposing Haspel's nomination, she needs at least one Democratic senator to support her.

If other GOP senators, several of whom have said they remain on the fence, decide to oppose Haspel, or McCain returns from Arizona, where he is being treated for brain cancer, she will need to pick up more Democratic support.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination The Memo: Kavanaugh firestorm consumes political world MORE (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat who has said he will support Haspel so far.