Kaine to oppose Haspel to lead CIA
© Greg Nash

Democratic Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineFears grow of chaotic election Trump taps Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, setting up confirmation sprint Supreme Court fight pushes Senate toward brink 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 PompeoRomney, Murphy 'extremely concerned' about threats to withdraw from US Embassy in Baghdad There is hope for the future: Create USAID 2.0 Trump announces new sanctions targeting Assad regime over human rights abuses 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 McCainBudowsky: Senate's Trump Republicans on trial, in trouble America's presence in Cam Ranh Bay should be more than occasional Meghan McCain, husband welcome first baby girl, Liberty Sage McCain Domenech 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 PaulRon Paul hospitalized in Texas The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Rand Paul says he can't judge 'guilt or innocence' in Breonna Taylor case 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) ManchinManchin: Trump's West Virginia ballot fraud claim 'just plain wrong' Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 Energy innovation bill can deliver jobs and climate progress MORE (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat who has said he will support Haspel so far.