Donnelly announces support for Trump's CIA pick Gina Haspel

Donnelly announces support for Trump's CIA pick Gina Haspel
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyObama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar Former GOP senator Richard Lugar dies at 87 Ralph Reed: Biden is a 'formidable and strong candidate' MORE (D-Ind.) has announced he will support President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE’s pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, increasing her chances of being confirmed.

Donnelly said in a statement Saturday he believes that Haspel “has learned from the past, and that the CIA under her leadership can help our country confront serious international threats and challenges.”

The Indiana Democrat also pointed to Haspel's backing from former CIA directors John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanIranian president: 'Situation is not suitable for talks' with US The Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget Dems ask former CIA chief John Brennan for Iran briefing: report MORE, Michael Hayden and Leon Panetta in explaining his support for her.

Donnelly is the second Democrat to endorse Haspel’s nomination, joining Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Labor head warns of 'frightening uptick' in black lung disease among miners Labor leader: Trump has stopped erosion of coal jobs MORE (W.Va.), who backed her earlier this week. Both Democrats are running for reelection this year in states carried by Trump in 2016.

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With GOP Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Romney: Trump 'has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character' MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump MORE (Ariz.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending House Freedom Caucus votes to condemn Amash's impeachment comments Bolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran MORE (Ky.) opposing Haspel's nomination, the Trump pick needs at least a few Democratic pickups to be confirmed, as a number of Republicans have not announced how they will vote.

Haspel is under fire from some senators for her overseeing "enhanced interrogation techniques" employed by the CIA against suspected terrorists in the past, and in particular for not saying during her Senate testimony whether torture is immoral.

McCain, who was tortured during the Vietnam War and has long been an opponent of the harsh interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush administration, came out against Haspel's nomination on Wednesday night.

But while showing deference to the Arizona Republican, who is at home battling brain cancer, few GOP senators gave signs Thursday that McCain's opposition to the CIA pick would sink her nomination.

Manchin said Haspel's "intellect, steady temperament, vast knowledge of threats we face, and dedication to our country are undeniable" in a statement announcing his support for her nomination earlier this week.

"I have found Gina Haspel to be a person of great character. Over her 33 year career as a CIA operations officer, she has worked in some of the most dangerous corners of our world, and I have the utmost respect for the sacrifices she has made for our country," he said.