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US Senate panel says 'yes' to Pompeo

Paul said his decision came after he spoke with Pompeo and received President Donald Trump's assurances regarding overseas operations.

First, after months of rumors, he jettisoned Rex Tillerson as secretary of state last month. "President Trump believes that Iraq was a mistake, that regime change has destabilized the region, and that we must end our involvement with Afghanistan", he said. Should the committee give him the green light the full Senate, including Jones, will have the opportunity to vote to confirm him.

During Mike Pompeo's confirmation hearing Senator Paul said, "My main concern is - will you be one who will listen to what the president actually wants, instead of being someone who advocates for us staying forever in Afghanistan, another Iraq war, bombing Syria..."

Pompeo's nomination will now proceed to a vote by the complete Senate, where the support of at least three Democrats guarantees its passage.

Yet Mr Tillerson was confirmed on a party-line vote of 56-43.

Trump recently sent Pompeo to Pyongyang to meet with North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un in advance of Trump's planned summit with Kim to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

With two moderate Democrats signaling their support for Pompeo earlier Monday, the confirmation of the United States' top diplomat by the full Senate this week was all but secured anyway. He said it would have been "heartless" to shuttle Isakson off his return flight straight to a delayed committee vote when the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

In a briefing Monday afternoon at the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, dismissed Democratic opposition as "pointless obstruction to score cheap political points with their base as a willful attempt to undermine American diplomacy".

"Pompeo is a proven national security leader", one such ad says.

Many political landscape experts thought that Mike Pompeo's attempt to make it through the approval of United States Congress would have been incredibly hard, potentially even failing to bring home a positive recommendation from the 20-deep Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Pompeo's impressive resume also includes graduating first in his class from West Point and serving as a U.S. Calvary officer in West Germany before the Berlin Wall fell.

Late last week, Mr Pompeo was still making the rounds on Capitol Hill, speaking with key senators who still haven't committed, including Mr Warner, Mr Manchin, and Mr Jeff Flake of Arizona, the only Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee who's undecided.

Pompeo is far from the worst of Trump's picks and, if he is confirmed and lives up to his confirmation hearing pledges, he has the potential to be one of the better ones.

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