Mike Pompeo's secretary of state position uncertain amid opposition

"I think it's important he get a vote on the floor of the Senate and I believe he'll be confirmed", said Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of the GOP leadership team and of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is considering Pompeo's nomination.

Pompeo's visit and the Tweet provide the strongest sign yet about Trump's willingness to become the first serving USA president ever to meet a North Korean leader, amid a protracted standoff over the North's nuclear and missile programs it pursues in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, another Republican committee member, Sen.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who voted to confirm Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency director, said in a statement Tuesday that she could not do the same for his bid to be top diplomat, citing concerns with Pompeo's positions on gay rights, Muslim Americans and women's reproductive rights. But even if he is confirmed, Pompeo risked becoming the first secretary of state known to take office without the approval of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Many Senate Democrats have said or written statements ... that Mike Pompeo was too bellicose", Sen. Corker said he continues to hold out hope that Pompeo, a former House lawmaker, will pick up backing from at least one Democrat on the panel. It is expected that some Democrats on the floor will vote to confirm him. Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican on the committee, is also undecided. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on Pompeo's nomination Monday, and with the opposition of two Democrats, Sens. Tim Kaine, that Pompeo is "anti-diplomacy".

The president himself lavished praise on his nominee - hours after confirming Pompeo's trip early this month to meet the reclusive Kim, the latest in a series of revelations that have raised hopes of a breakthrough in the nuclear stand-off.

"If they do so - and they're up for re-election - they may suffer the consequences", said Cotton, an outspoken Trump supporter who blasted the Foreign Relations Committee as out of step with the rest of the Senate. But Democrats, in particular, were left dissatisfied with his answers. After the meeting, Paul reiterated that he was still a "no" on Pompeo despite the president saying Wednesday of Paul: "He's never let me down".

Republicans have a slight edge over Democrats in the Senate, 51 to 49.

Some Democratic senators are keeping an open mind about the candidacy of Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State, according to multiple reports. If these senators obstruct Pompeo's nomination ahead of their elections, how will they explain that to their voters? "It's viewed as a proxy of support for the Trump administration, which is obviously very very unpopular on their side of the aisle", Corker told reporters.

"IRS teams worked hard throughout the night", said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter.

  • Tracy Klein