Joe Donnelly

Donnelly Becomes Second Democrat to Support Gina Haspel to Lead the CIA
Indiana senator provides an insurance vote for the Trump nominee

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced his support for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate appears to be moving full speed ahead on confirming Gina Haspel as director of the CIA.

The Intelligence Committee is expected to vote to advance her nomination to the floor during a closed business meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, and a Saturday morning announcement by Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly further reduced the suspense.

Trump Generally Sticks to Hammering Donnelly at Indiana Rally
Could be template for what Senate GOP wants to see from the president

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on Thursday in Elkhart, Indiana. The crowd filled the 7,500-person-capacity gymnasium. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Senate GOP leaders might be smiling after President Donald Trump’s rally Thursday evening.

The raucous event in Elkhart, Indiana, saw Trump deliver one of his typical campaign trail stem-winders, with plenty of reminders about the midterm elections and the importance to the president of replacing Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in November.

At the Races: 6 Months to Go
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Mike Braun Wins Indiana GOP Senate Primary
Ex-state representative will face vulnerable Democrat Joe Donnelly in November

Former Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun will face Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Businessman and former state Rep. Mike Braun won the Republican nod for Senate in Indiana on Tuesday. He’ll take on Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly in one of the most competitive races in the country.

Outspending his opponents, Braun defeated Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer to win the nomination. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Braun had 41 percent of the vote to 30 percent for Messer and 29 percent for Rokita, according to The Associated Press.

Opinion: The Case for Ugly Primaries
The process is messy, but it can reveal much

Don Blankenship, who is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in West Virginia, conducts a town hall meeting at Macado’s restaurant in Bluefield, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

You can’t blame Republican leaders for trying to pick the winner of Tuesday’s West Virginia primary ahead of time when the words “prison” and “supervised release” show up in nearly every story about Don Blankenship. The Senate hopeful and former coal executive did a year behind bars recently for the dangerously unsafe conditions in his coal mines, but is now somehow surging in the polls.

Republicans want a strong general election candidate to take on Sen. Joe Manchin in November, and trying to block a jailbird from the GOP nomination seems like a no-brainer. Add to that Blankenship’s willingness to savage Mitch McConnell as “Cocaine Mitch” and call the father of his wife, Elaine Chao, a “Chinaperson,” and it would take a Herculean amount of strength for the Senate majority leader and his supporters not to get sucked into a fight against one of their own.

Trump Hunkers Down On Haspel Nomination Ahead of Showdown
Pick to head CIA offered to withdraw nomination over the weekend to avoid controversy over torture program

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump crosses the South Lawn after arriving at the White House on May 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to speak at Public Hall ahead of state primary elections. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump doubled down on his pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel, on Monday, even after she expressed concerns over her own nomination stemming from the use of torture tactics in a program she oversaw during the George W. Bush administration.

Haspel, the CIA’s deputy director whom Trump tapped in March to lead the agency, told White House staff she would withdraw her nomination if it would save herself and the CIA the embarrassment of a grilling in the Senate over the anti-terror program she headed, The Washington Post reported.

GOP Senate Hopefuls in House Nominate Trump for Nobel Peace Prize
Move comes ahead of key primary battles in Indiana, West Virginia

Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., is among the House Republicans who’ve nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five incumbent House Republicans running for Senate have co-signed a letter nominating President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.

It’s a move that could curry favor with the president and his supporters just a week before pivotal primaries in states such as West Virginia and Indiana, two Trump states where GOP candidates are trying to align themselves with the White House.

Senate Confirms Pompeo With Split Among 2018 Democrats
Final vote came immediately after the Senate limited debate

CIA Director Mike Pompeo won confirmation as secretary of State on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate easily confirmed Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of State on Thursday, but Democrats in the most competitive 2018 races delivered a split decision on the current CIA director.

The chamber confirmed Pompeo to the top diplomatic post, 57-42, after an identical vote to limit debate on the nomination.

Opinion: Best and the Brightest? Trump’s Troika of Troubled Nominees
Senate can stop president’s dismal choices for cabinet jobs

White House physician Ronny Jackson, nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, had better hang on to his day job after lawmakers cited “serious concerns,” Walter Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate confirmation fights have been the stuff of Washington drama from the fictional “Advise and Consent” (1960 Pulitzer Prize) to the real-life rejection of John Tower (a rumored alcoholic and inveterate skirt chaser) for Defense secretary in 1989. And of course, Mike Pence last year had to break a 50-50 Senate tie over the fate of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

But never in modern times has a president in the midst of his first term had three nominees as troubled as the Trump Troika.

After Coons Demonstrates Comity, Pompeo Avoids Dubious Distinction
Old Senate traditions on display as Delaware Democrat pairs with Georgia Republican

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, and ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., confer Monday before a tense committee markup on the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be secretary of State. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo narrowly avoided historical ignominy on Monday when the Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination to be secretary of State.

It took more steps to advance President Donald Trump’s nominee than anyone might have anticipated going into the meeting, including what in the modern Senate was a magnanimous gesture from Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.