Mike Pompeo steps in front of moderate Dems before the tough vote in the committee
Candidate Mike Pompeo will face a grilling Thursday during his Senate Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. But in an unusual move, Pompeo is already looking for moderate Democratic senators who are not on this committee, in what the legislators of both parties say is a sign of the major challenges of the nomination.
Pompeo already has the support of Republican Rand Paul, a Senator from Kentucky, on the panel, which is a major refusal given the unanimous vote of the GOP. This means that Pompeo must win at least one democratic vote for a positive vote in committee. The focus will be on New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, both of whom have voted for Pompeo as CIA Director and are on the Panel.
But both senators were skeptical of Pompeo's appointment to the state Many Democrats are concerned about his restrictive views and fear that he will not be an independent voice ready to stand against Trump. And in the event that all Democrats of the committee vote against his nomination and vote "no" to Paul, the Republicans would be forced to take procedural steps to advance the nomination without a panel's recommendation, which is a blame for the candidate. 1
9659004] However, Pompeo could still be confirmed as foreign minister if he wins a simple majority on the ground. But with a tightly-spaced chamber, absenting Senator John McCain, of recovering from brain tumor, and if Paul remains a "no" vote, Pompeo would need at least a Democratic senator to break down to advance the nomination.
So behind the scenes, Pompeo, a former member of the House, who according to lawmakers is trained in the art of private reading with senators, begins his campaign for potential "yes" votes on the floor. He met with Senator Angus King, the Independent Senator of Maine, who worked with Democrats and voted for Pompeo as CIA Director on Monday night for about an hour. He also met with Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, a vulnerable Democrat who can support his nomination for the state, but is also not on the Committee on Foreign Relations.
And he could soon meet with Sen. Joe Manchin conservative West Virginia Democrat, who has a tough re-election this year.
"I left this completely open before he says, "Manchin told CNN when asked about the election for Pompeo.
Heitkamp said she had a "good meeting" with Pompeo late last month. "I'm waiting for the hearing before deciding what to do, and my biggest concern would be making an independent judgment."
Pompeo has privately assured senators of whom he would be a voice moderation within the administration, even pointing out that he would not advocate tearing apart the Iranian nuclear treaty he had harshly criticized in the past, and said It should be decided first before a decision is made, as two other senators who have met him
Whether that will be enough to win the Democrats remains to be seen.
"I think it's far too early to make that prediction," said Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland and panel member Pompeo for 45 minutes on Tuesday, but made it clear that he was still worried of the nominee. "I think most members of the committee have not made any decisions, it's far too early to make those judgments."
Pompeo gained the support of King and 14 Democrats as CIA Director, but almost everyone has made it clear that they see the State Department very differently and are skeptical about this vote.
It would be supreme unusual for Pompeo to be confirmed without a positive vote in the committee. From 1987 to 2016, the Senate, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, did not confirm candidates who received a negative vote in their respective committees. During this time, two Cabinet-level candidates were rejected on the floor of the Senate after being rejected by the committee, including John Tower as Secretary of Defense in 1989 and John Bolton in 2005, who was clogged by Democrats in the Democrat United Nations  RELATED: Trump Replaces HR McMaster as National Security Advisor with John Bolton 
Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Tuesday It is premature to say whether the leadership of the GOP will prefer the nomination should Pompeo Lose support in the committee. The Republican from Tennessee said he was "very impressed" by Pompeo, but the democratic opposition could be significant.
"I think the disappointment that some Democrats have with the president could influence their choices," Corker said. "I'm just being honest."
Another complication for Pompeo: He faces a top Democrat on the committee, Bob Menendez, who is ready to aggressively question the candidate at Thursday's hearing. Menendez was not the top Democrat at last year's hearings for Pompeo's predecessor, Rex Tillerson, because the New Jersey Democrat had been ostracized for corruption allegations. After Menéndez has been released from the allegations, he has taken his place again and will set the tone for an aggressive hearing.
"Menendez will be tough," said a Democratic source on the committee.
A source familiar with Pompeo's confirmation preparation said he had not met with many senators on the committee, in addition to the legislators serving on the podium, including Menendez.
"He takes this very seriously, he meets with every person he can, given the time he has to support the validation process." – not just with the committee, "said the source." He recognizes that a hundred senators will vote for him. He has not accepted confirmation at all. "
During his private meetings, the source said he had heard a lot of political differences and was asked to explain his past votes and controversial comments he made during campaigns. To put these voices and statements in context, the source said.
While the Democrats have urged him on the government's views on a wide range of topics from North Korea to Russia, they are curious how he will manage a department
"The big thing is that while they can (disagree) to certain policies, they have in Mike Pompeo a person willing to work with them to reinforce the State Department." , the source concludes to the nominee said.
It is still possible that Pompeo might get a positive vote in the committee If he is likely to vote against him, the two men could meet before Thursday, the senator told CNN.
Plus Pompeo met Kaine and Shaheen on Tuesday, and both kept the door open for his nomination.
"These hearings have changed my mind before," said Kaine CNN. "So I come in with many questions, but I'll wait until the hearing."
Beyond their political differences, Shaheen said she wanted to know Pompeo's thoughts on restoring the Ministry of Foreign Affairs morale, his diplomatic corps, and Tillerson's remedial efforts.
"This is a very different job than CIA director," she said. "There are other skills."