Free Minds & Free Markets

Rand Paul Will Oppose Trump's Pro-War, Pro-Torture Nominees for State, CIA

Paul says Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick to be the next secretary of state, will repeat the foreign policy mistakes of the past two decades.

JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS/NewscomJOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS/NewscomSen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) plans to oppose the nominations of Mike Pompeo for secretary of state and Gina Haspel as Pompeo's replacement running the Central Intelligence Agency.

Paul's opposition could complicate the Trump administration's plans to replace outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired this week and will leave his post at the end of the month.

When it comes to picking a replacement for America's top diplomat, Paul says he could not support nominees who are trying to steer Trump in a more interventionalist direction.

"I cannot endorse his nomination of people who loved the Iraq war so much that they want an Iran war next," Paul says. "President Trump sought to break with the foreign policy mistakes of the last two administrations. Yet now he picks for secretary of state and CIA director people who embody them, defend them, and, I'm afraid, will repeat them."

Paul sits on the crucial Senate Foreign Relations Committee, giving him significant leverage over these nominations. If the committee's 10 Democratic members also oppose Pompeo's or Haspel's appointment, Paul would be the swing vote on the 21-member committee. If either nominations make it to the Senate floor via a different route (Senate leaders could bypass the committee process, Politico says), Republicans could face another close vote with a slim 51–49 majority.

There's good reason for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to think long and hard about a confirmation vote for Pompeo. As Emma Ashford explains, Pompeo has been very vocal on policy, including his outspoken support for withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal. It's unusual for the director of the CIA to speak out on matters of policy, and Pompeo's tendency to do so might complicate the high-level diplomatic negotiations he would oversee as secretary of state. When it comes to other potential hotspots, from North Korea to the ongoing proxy war on the Arabian Peninsula, Pompeo is likely to take a more hawkish stance than Tillerson did.

Domestically, Pompeo has supported the expansion of a surveillance state. In a 2016 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Pompeo called on Congress to "pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database." He has also called for the execution of Edward Snowden.

Paul opposed Pompeo's appointment to run the CIA last year, saying in January 2017 that Pompeo's "desire for security will trump his defense of liberty."

Less high-profile but no less important is Trump's pick to replace Pompeo at the CIA. Paul says that Haspel's record on torture, which includes running a CIA "black site" prison in Thailand, should disqualify her from consideration.

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  • Sevo||

    Walking by my window, we have the oh-so-brave props/children of the SF lefty school system, chanting "No Guns!"
    As someone mentioned in an earlier thread, 'people in hell want icewater, too'.
    And how BRAVE to be doing so in SF! Why, I'll bet they're also telling Trump jokes to be edgy!

  • NoVaNick||

    Yep, the progs are using the tried and true mobilize the youth tactic, just like Mao in the cultural revolution.

  • BYODB||

    They do seem to try this a lot, but as it turns out 'the youth' don't give enough fucks to actually vote.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    President Trump sought to break with the foreign policy mistakes of the last two administrations.

    Yes, get some praise in there while stabbing Trump in the back. Paul knows what he's doing.

  • John||

    My question for Paul is "Trump has been in office a year, what has he done that causes you not to give him the benefit of the doubt here?" Trump hasn't gotten us into any new wars. So why would putting Pompeo in at State change that?

  • CE||

    Because Tillerson was one of the few voices of moderation and reason in the administration?

  • John||

    Okay. But Trump is the President and makes the decisions. Maybe Trump is the moderate one? Ultimately, you can't hold Trump responsible for the things you don't like and then try and say that he somehow isn't responsible for the things you do like.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Trump has the bad habit of adopting the views of the last person to talk with him.

  • Calidissident||

    But we have continued all of the wars we were already in.

    Also, I don't get what your point is here. Paul will be voting to confirm Pompeo, not Trump. Whether or not he's satisfied with what Trump's done doesn't mean he's obligated to support Pompeo. Let's suppose we take the premise that Trump has been great on FP - why would it not make sense to oppose Pompeo's appointment if you feel that Pompeo will be a negative influence on Trump in that area?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't know how much benefit I would give in my advise and consent role in general.

  • John||

    But Pompeo is supposed to be a Russian stooge? What do you mean he is some pro war hawk? I was assured that Trump fired Tillerson because he wasn't doing Putin';s bigging and hired Pompeo because he would? You mean I was lied to?

  • DajjaI||

    Pompeo is a neocon. Trumpkins got cucked so hard it's not even funny.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Everybody needs to understand that the whole Tillerson situation was orchestrated by Putin from the beginning. Harvard Law's Laurence Tribe explains: It looks like Russia picked Tillerson to be a Putin puppet, then pushed Trump to fire Tillerson when he proved to be an unreliable puppet.

    So whatever is known about Tillerson's replacement, we can be sure he too is a Kremlin asset.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    That comment should probably be a reply to John's 1:42.

  • John||

    Normally you are a boring and tiresome spoof. But this post is high comedy. Tillerson was a Putin stooge right up until he was fired for not being enough of one. Poor Larry Tribe, Trump has driven him mad.

  • Sevo||

    "So whatever is known about Tillerson's replacement, we can be sure he too is a Kremlin asset."

    It's an absolute wonder how the remains of the USSR suddenly become so astute in their foreign policy! Why, it's almost as if the entire gestalt is some loser's fantasy!

  • DajjaI||

    Thank you Rand Paul! Though I would be interested to know who you think should replace them.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I don't expect him to push back too hard on someone whose qualifications are "didn't run a CIA torture site" or "hasn't advocated starting 2 or 3 new wars". He's not trying to poke Trump in the eye or even make life hard for Team Red, just curb some of their excesses.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Rand Paul Will Oppose Trump's Pro-War, Pro-Torture Nominees for State, CIA

    What if the Dems start accusing them of being racist?

  • BYODB||

    According to some around here, since Paul voted against the ACA replacement plan he should be removed from office to make way for a RINO to take his place who will work with McConnell and the rest of the Republican establishment to reduce the 'deficit'.

    You know, like expanding FISA and more foreign wars. As long as we 'reduce' the deficit (or at least it's rate of increase). Because that's the number one thing, regardless of the fact that the Republican establishment...voted to increase the deficit through tax breaks.

    My head is spinning with all the contradictory bullshit.

  • Calidissident||

    When McConnell and Ryan vote to pass a spending bill massively increasing the debt, it's totally ok because they tried to pass a bill earlier that would have cut the deficit by half as much as they ended up increasing it. And because they had to do it to get re-elected.

    And here I was thinking the whole point of electing a unified Republican government was that they'd supposedly be able to do things like cutting the deficit, but no, it's actually to increase the deficit to ensure continued Republican control. What a shock.

  • BYODB||

    Indeed. Personally I'm a fiscal conservative, or at least I lean that way, but it's hardly my only or even top concern. Hence why I 'lean' libertarian, because to me freedom's are above even things like fiscal conservatism on my hierarchy of needs. If I have money, but am not free to spend it, does it really matter if I have money?

  • Eidde||

    Sen. Paul is trying to distinguish himself from a fairly undistinguished crew of Republicans. Perhaps this is in aid of a Presidential bid, but whatever the reason, good going.

  • Nardz||

    I like Paul. He may be the only senator I like.
    My only question is, other than himself, who in DC is not pro-war and pro-torture?

  • H-daddy||

    Once again, Sen. Paul says and will do the right thing. We need BETTER PEOPLE in these positions. These two are the worst of the worst.

  • Kevin Bjornson||

    Rand Paul owes Haspel an apology:


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