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Tough punch from McCain scrambles CIA calculus

Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

An adviser tells me the White House still expects the Senate to confirm Gina Haspel as CIA director, despite the head-turning opposition that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced on Twitter last night due to her stance on torture.

Why it matters: McCain, with the unique high ground he commands on the issue, could cost the acting CIA director votes for the top job.

  • As longtime friends receive calls saying this is the time to go pay last respects to McCain, he tweeted: "I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country & has devoted her professional life to its service & defense. However, her role in overseeing the use of torture is disturbing & her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying."
  • But the adviser said the White House still believes Haspel will become the first woman DCIA for a very clinical reason: Enough Democratic senators in red states will calculate that they should stick with her for their own politics.