Republicans strongly warned Democrats against preventing the Mike Pompeo vote
Ron Wyden said he is concerned about Pompeo's views on collecting metadata
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a vocal privacy advocate, has formally objected to the Senate voting Friday on CIA director nominee Rep. Mike Pompeo’s nomination after Donald Trump is sworn in as president, a source familiar with the situation told CNN Thursday.
Instead, the source said, the Pompeo vote would likely be pushed back until Monday, after senators critical of Pompeo’s confirmation have time to vocalize their concerns during debate on the floor.
An official familiar with the visit says Trump intended to visit the CIA Saturday to meet with staff and attend Mike Pompeo’s swearing-in. But now that Pompeo’s confirmation vote has shifted potentially to Monday, the visit is in question.
Earlier Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer signaled a vote on Pompeo might get pushed back to Monday because some of his caucus had “serious, serious statements they want to make about Pompeo” before voting for him.
Pompeo was one of the three national security cabinet members Trump and Senate Republicans hoped to confirm Friday. Defense secretary nominee Ret. Gen. James Mattis and homeland security secretary Ret. Gen. John Kelly are expected to be confirmed, according to Schumer.
Some other non-controversial cabinet nominees could get through too but aides and senators say negotiations over the nominations are likely to continue until Friday at 4 p.m. when the Senate convenes next to vote on the cabinet posts.
Wyden was joined by multiple other Democratic senators in objecting to a swift vote, the source said.
Republicans strongly warned Democrats against preventing Trump from getting his core national security team in place on day one, especially with the constant threat of terrorism around the world and in the US. They even suggested debating and voting Friday instead of waiting until Monday.
Wyden is concerned about Pompeo’s views expressed in a January 3, 2016, Wall Street Journal op-ed that should resume the collection of metadata to protect against terrorism.
“Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed,” Pompeo wrote at the time.
Wyden raised his concerns during Pompeo’s confirmation hearing but was not satisfied with the nominee’s responses.
Wyden also talked about his concerns Thursday when he told reporters the Senate needed “a little bit of time to examine” Pompeo’s surveillance proposals.
“Mike Pompeo is proposing a brand new system of collecting an enormous amount of data on Americans, law abiding Americans, including life-style information, I think that’s the kind of thing that you ought to take a little bit of time to examine,” Wyden said.