Kaine to oppose Haspel to lead CIA
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Democratic proposals to overhaul health care: A 2020 primer Dems ask Justice Dept to release findings of Acosta-Epstein investigation 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 PompeoTrump admin announces new restrictions on travel to Cuba Russia is gaining influence in Libya: How will Washington respond? Trump reverses policy, allows lawsuits against businesses in Cuba 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 gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Democrats need a 'celebrity' candidate — and it's not Biden or Sanders Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump 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 PaulTrump vetoes measure ending US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen Bottom line Trump: I have not read Mueller report, 'though I have every right to do so' 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) ManchinOn The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed Pro-life Christians are demanding pollution protections MORE (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat who has said he will support Haspel so far.