* Karoun Demirjian, Seung Min Kim, and Mike DeBonis report that it may not be smooth sailing for Trump’s new appointees:
The confirmation of President Trump’s picks for secretary of state and CIA director is likely to be hampered but not stymied by a mostly partisan backlash to their records in the administration and the decision that led to their nominations — the termination of Rex Tillerson for being one of the few Cabinet members, Democrats argued Tuesday, who was willing to stand up to the president on foreign policy.
Leaders of both parties predicted Tuesday that it could take a while to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state and Gina Haspel as Pompeo’s replacement at the CIA, leaving the State Department officially rudderless at a time when the administration is facing pressing challenges surrounding newly announced talks with North Korea, looming deadlines for continued compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, Russian aggression in advance of the 2018 midterm elections, the rollout of new tariffs and a deteriorating situation in Syria.
Let’s get something clear about Haspel. She was a key participant in the Bush administration’s torture program, and then she participated in an effort to cover up that program by destroying video tapes of the torture. Someone with that horrific moral stain on them shouldn’t be allowed to work at your local McDonald’s, let alone lead the CIA.
* Michael Bender and Rebecca Ballhaus report on the firing you may have missed:
President Donald Trump’s personal assistant, John McEntee, was fired and escorted from the White House on Monday after being denied a security clearance over financial problems in his background, according to senior administration officials and people close to the former aide.
People close to McEntee said problems related to online gambling and mishandling of his taxes prevented him from gaining the clearance necessary for the role.
To clarify, McEntee was Trump’s “body man,” who probably spends more time with the president than anyone else. He sees a huge amount. The idea that that person might have a gambling problem is … problematic. You only have to have watched pretty much any spy or mafia movie to know why. But no problem — they just gave him a job on the Trump reelection campaign. Seriously.
* David Weigel and Elise Viebeck offer a good rundown of quotes from voters in today’s special election in Pennsylvania.
* Meagan Flynn and Avi Selk report that a spokesperson for ICE quit because he couldn’t in good conscience repeat the false statements Jeff Sessions and the ICE director were making about the agency’s raids in Oakland.
* Kurt Bardella aptly wonders how it is that the NRA and Dana Loesch can claim to speak for female empowerment when they constantly attack women.
* And Margaret Sullivan explains what’s wrong with giving live uninterrupted coverage to every speech President Trump gives.