Thanks to Last-Minute Switch, Pompeo Clears Senate Panel

Rand Paul changed his mind in the 11th hour
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2018 1:03 AM CDT
Key Senate Panel Narrowly Approves Pompeo Nomination
Sen. Rand Paul, the sole Republican who'd earlier opposed Mike Pompeo, tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday he's changing his vote to yes.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Trump's choice for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a favorable recommendation, narrowly avoiding a rare rebuke as his confirmation heads to the full Senate. Democrats put up stiff resistance and voted against Pompeo, who's currently the CIA director. Only a last-minute switch from Kentucky Republican Rand Paul—whom Trump called before the vote—enabled Pompeo to win committee approval, the AP reports. It would have been the first time since the committee starting keeping records in 1925 that a secretary of state nominee faced an unfavorable report.

Pompeo's nomination now goes to the full Senate, where votes are tallying in his favor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he looks forward to voting to confirm Pompeo this week. Paul announced his change in position after talking with Trump moments before the committee was set to consider the nominee. He tweeted that after talking with Trump and meeting with the nominee he received assurances that Pompeo believes the Iraq war "was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan." With those assurances, the senator said he had "decided to support his nomination to be our next secretary of state."

(More Mike Pompeo stories.)

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