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Cruz puts hold on Biden's CIA nominee

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz no longer wearing mask in Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Democrats brace for new 'defund the police' attacks MORE (R-Texas) put a hold on President BidenJoe BidenBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Olympics, climate on the agenda for Biden meeting with Japanese PM Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE’s nominee to lead the CIA in a bid to get the administration to take action against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

Cruz confirmed the move on Friday, saying on Twitter, “I’ll release my hold when the Biden admin meets its legal obligation to report and sanction the ships and companies building Putin’s pipeline. Follow the law. Stop being soft on Russia. #NordStream2.”  

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The move was first reported by Bloomberg News. The hold will delay the nomination, and Biden's nominee, William BurnsWilliam BurnsIntelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats hearing Biden aide: Ability to collect daily intel in Afghanistan 'will diminish' Overnight Defense: Biden officially rolls out Afghanistan withdrawal plan | Probe finds issues with DC Guard helicopter use during June protests MORE, is ultimately expected to be confirmed.

The Hill has reached out to Cruz’s office for further comment.

The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously advanced Burns’s nomination to the full Senate on Tuesday. 

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Russian energy company Gazprom is planning to finish the pipeline by September after a yearlong delay imposed by sanctions, according to Reuters.

The news outlet noted that lawmakers from both sides think that about 15 ships are helping build the pipeline, but the State Department targeted only one ship for sanctions in a report to Congress last month.

After the report, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson delay prompts criticism of CDC panel | Pfizer CEO says third dose of COVID-19 vaccine 'likely' needed within one year | CDC finds less than 1 percent of fully vaccinated people got COVID-19 Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE said during a press briefing last month that the administration was continuing to “monitor activity to complete or to certify the pipeline, and if such activity takes place, we'll make a determination on the applicability of sanctions.”

Forty GOP senators wrote a letter to Biden on March 3 urging the administration to impose more sanctions, saying that “the failure of the administration to identify and impose new sanctions signals its willingness to allow President Putin to gain a stranglehold over Europe’s gas supplies and increase its geopolitical leverage.”  

Cruz has pressured other Biden nominees over the pipeline. Most recently, the Texas Senator confronted Wendy Sherman, Biden’s nominee for deputy secretary of State, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.