Sen. Marco Rubio told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he supported president-elect Donald Trump’s appointments of Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) to United Nations (UN) ambassador and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to CIA director.
Todd asked Rubio why he did not have a statement on Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s appointment to National Security Advisor or Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) appointment to US Attorney General.
Rubio said that he did not comment on Flynn’s appointment, because his position does not require Senate confirmation; he did not comment on Sessions’ appointment, because Rubio was not a member of the Judiciary Committee — Sessions requires confirmation from the Judiciary Committee before he can be confirmed by the full Senate. Rubio sits on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, which Haley and Pompeo must respectively go through.
The senator said that he knows both Haley and Pompeo well and that he has a working relationship with Sessions. Though he would not comment on Sessions until he made it through the first round of confirmation, Rubio called Haley and Pompeo a “good choice.”
Not all agree with Rubio.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has promised to block Pompeo’s possible appointment, saying that “he’s going to have to also answer to [Paul’s] liking whether or not he’s still for torture, whether or not he’s for waterboarding.”
Paul also took issue with Pompeo’s support for expanding the National Security Agency’s (NSA) power. “Many of the NSA powers were done in secret without the knowledge of most members of Congress,” he noted. Paul popularly carried out a 10.5-hour filibuster in 2015 in an effort to reduce the NSA’s power to conduct warrantless mass surveillance under the Patriot Act.