CABINET/GOP/MIKE POMPEO/NOMINATIONS/RAND PAUL/REX TILLERSON/TRUMP PEOPLE: “The White House was hoping for a smooth 2018 on Capitol Hill. Instead, President Donald Trump is staring at two bitter confirmation fights — and the possibility emboldened Democrats could block his new Cabinet nominees.
Trump’s decision to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson at the State Department — and to elevate Pompeo’s controversial deputy Gina Haspel, who hasn’t previously been confirmed — has created a pair of high-stakes battles in the Senate, where the GOP enjoys a threadbare 51-49 advantage.
With Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) opposing both nominees and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) absent as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer, Trump will need Democrats to support his picks.
The looming struggle to get Cabinet replacements through underscores just how much the political calculus has changed for Trump since the very early days of his administration, as Democrats look ahead to the midterms and throw off any semblance of cooperation with the White House.”
–Matthew Nussbam and Burgess Everett, “Cabinet shakeups give Democrats a chance to block Trump picks,” Politico, Mar.16, 2018 5:01am