Kaine to oppose Haspel to lead CIA
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Senate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism 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 PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial 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 McCainJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? 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 PaulPentagon to take bigger role in vetting foreign students after Pensacola shooting Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Rand Paul: 'We need to re-examine' US-Saudi relationship after Florida shooting 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) ManchinSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Manchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation MORE (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat who has said he will support Haspel so far.