Veterans group urges Senate to back McCain, block Haspel in ad

Greg Nash

A progressive veterans advocacy group is seizing on Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain’s opposition to CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel leading the spy agency as it urges senators to sink her nomination. 

VoteVets is releasing a new TV ad asking lawmakers to “stand with John McCain” and reject Haspel’s nomination. 
“The conscience of the Senate. … Stand with John McCain against torture. Block Haspel,” the narrator says in the ad, which was obtained by The Hill before its release.
The ad will run in Washington, D.C., during MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CNN’s “New Day” and Fox News’s  “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings as part of a $25,000 ad buy.  
{mosads}McCain has been away from Washington for months as he battles brain cancer. But his opposition to Haspel has put him at the center of the fight over her nomination. 
The narrator in the new ad says “Haspel’s supporters [are] insulting his legacy.” 
White House staffer Kelly Sadler, in comments first reported by The Hill on Thursday, joked about McCain’s failing health, saying his opposition to Haspel “doesn’t matter. He’s dying anyway.” 
Sadler’s comments, made during a White House meeting and subsequently leaked, have sparked a days-long firestorm for the administration. 
They’ve also rankled Senate Republicans, who are increasing their calls for a public apology ahead of a closed-door lunch with President Trump on Tuesday afternoon. 
The White House signaled on Monday that neither they nor Sadler would be issuing a public apology, saying the matter was being handled “internally.” 
Despite the fallout over Sadler’s comments, Haspel seems to be a lock for confirmation by the full Senate as soon as next week. 
The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to vote on her nomination Wednesday. Every Republican on the panel, as well as Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), will support her, giving her more than the simple majority needed to be sent favorably to the floor. 
But Haspel is likely to be confirmed with a razor-thin margin. In addition to McCain, GOP Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) has said he will oppose Haspel and several other key GOP senators remain on the fence. 
Manchin and Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) are the only Democrats, so far, who have said they will support her. 
Haspel is a CIA veteran and much of her career is shrouded in mystery. 
But her nomination is considered controversial because of her involvement in George W. Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques” — now widely viewed as torture — her time running a CIA black site and the destruction of videotapes of the interrogation of an al Qaeda suspect. 

McCain was captured and tortured during the Vietnam War. The Senate passed an amendment in 2015 sponsored by McCain that formally banned brutal interrogation techniques widely classified as torture, including waterboarding, as part of an annual defense policy bill.

Tags Central Intelligence Agency confirmation fights Donald Trump Enhanced interrogation techniques Gina Haspel Interrogation techniques Joe Donnelly Joe Manchin John McCain John McCain brain cancer nominations Rand Paul Rand Paul Torture United States Violence Waterboarding
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