Kaine to oppose Haspel to lead CIA
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: What the midterms mean for defense panels | Pompeo cancels North Korea meeting | Trump eyes Kim summit in early 2019 | Pentagon drops name for border mission Five takeaways from a divisive midterm election GOP to retain Senate majority 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 names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa Senators return to Washington intent on action against Saudis State Department believes missing U.S. journalist is alive in Syria: report 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 McCainCortez Masto poised to become DSCC chair Implementation matters: Making certain the VA Mission Act will work for veterans Students protesting Shapiro chant ‘John McCain’s dead’ 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 PaulRand Paul blocking Trump counterterrorism nominee Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Mattis defends border deployment during visit to troops | Bolton aide exits WH after clash with first lady | House blocks Yemen war resolution | Report warns of erosion in US military superiority On The Money: Trump, Senate leaders to huddle on border wall funding | Fed bank regulator walks tightrope on Dodd-Frank | Koch-backed groups blast incentives for corporations after Amazon deal 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) ManchinSchumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader Mellman: The triumph of partisanship Senate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle MORE (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat who has said he will support Haspel so far.