Gina Haspel is sworn in during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's CIA nominee Gina Haspel, whose highly anticipated confirmation hearing began Wednesday, said that, if confirmed, she will not follow any orders from her superiors that she believes to be immoral, "even if it was technically legal."

Why it matters: This is a primary concern for the Senate Intelligence Committee, given Haspel's record on the agency's prior use of torture . Haspel told the senators: “I support the higher moral standard... I would never, ever, take CIA back to the interrogation program.”

  • Regarding her involvement in the destruction of interrogation tapes: "There was a great deal of concern about the security risks to CIA officers who were depicted on the tapes... Our lawyers were very consistent in saying to us that there was no legal requirement to retain the tapes, [and] no legal impediment to disposing of the tapes."
  • On the interrogation program, Haspel said that she was told interrogation experts designed it, and it was approved by the attorney general and the president.
  • On the issue of waterboarding: Haspel said she doesn't believe Trump would ask her to subject a detainee to that. Remember: Trump said on the campaign trail he would bring back waterboarding.
  • She repeatedly declined to give Sen. Kamala Harris a "yes" or "no" answer on whether she believes the CIA's techniques were immoral.

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U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 20,388,408 — Total deaths: 743,599— Total recoveries: 12,616,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 5,150,590 — Total deaths: 164,681 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.

Trump congratulates QAnon conspiracy theorist on GOP runoff win

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff.

Why it matters: The president's approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios' Jacob Knutson.