Senate votes to stop debate then votes 54-45 to confirm Gina Haspel as CIA director – By Robert Willmann


Moving quickly to prevent further opposition to the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director, the Senate Intelligence Committee on 16 May (yesterday) gave her a positive vote of 10-5 in a closed meeting to move the nomination out of committee and to the full Senate for consideration, and this afternoon it was brought up for a vote.  First was a vote to stop debate on the nomination, called cloture.  If successful, it ends debate and a vote is then taken on the item in question.  Sometimes cloture requires 60 votes to be invoked and to stop debate.  However, I think during the Obama administration the rule was changed to keep the 60 vote requirement only for Supreme Court nominees and legislation, because the struggle over nominations had intensified.  Thus, to stop or end any debate on Haspel would need only a simple majority vote.

The cloture vote on Haspel was 54-44, with two senators not voting, and so there would be no public Senate debate on her nomination.  Immediately after that, the vote was held on the nomination and she was confirmed, 54-45.  Six Democrats voted for confirmation, otherwise the nomination would have failed.

For your reference, here is a short paper from the Congressional Research Service describing the Senate's executive calendar, on which are placed treaties and nominations–


The public hearing before the Senate Intel Committee on 9 May showed Haspel to be dodging questions and tap dancing to such an extent that written questions were sent to her after the hearing to which she replied Monday of this week, 14 May–

Back on 23 April, a letter was sent to the Senate (probably to the intelligence committee) from 109 retired generals and admirals expressing concern about the Haspel nomination–

On Tuesday, 15 May, Senator Rand Paul sent a letter to Haspel asking about CIA monitoring, collection, and surveillance of some presidential candidates during the 2016 election–

 The conduct of the Senate Intel Committee showed that the fix was in before them, as it appears that none of the retired generals and admirals who were troubled by her nomination were asked to appear even in a closed, classified hearing to discuss the situation, nor was anyone else, to my knowledge. 

That someone like Haspel as a nominee would even be considered by a committee — a hearing does not have to be held on a nomination — demonstrates the ridiculous state the Senate is in.  Torture?  No problem.  Destroying evidence of torture and perhaps other bad acts?  No problem.  Time for a promotion. 

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