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Senate Postpones Hearing For Biden’s Top Intelligence Pick

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The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence postponed the hearing for President-elect Joe Biden’s Director of National Intelligence nominee Avril Haines, the committee announced Thursday.

Haines’ hearing was scheduled to occur virtually on Friday, according to a Wednesday advisory. The committee had been wanting to host the hearing virtually to speed up the process, but that needs unanimous consent from all senators on the committee, according to CNN.

“Despite the unusual circumstances on Capitol Hill, the committee is working in good faith to move this nominee as fast as possible and ensure the committee’s members have an opportunity to question the nominee in both open and closed settings,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top senators on the committee, said in the joint statement.

“The Director of National Intelligence plays a crucial role in overseeing the 18 agencies that make up our nation’s Intelligence Community, and the committee looks forward to holding a hearing next week with Ms. Haines,” Rubio and Warner said in the statement.

A source familiar with the committee’s decision told the Daily Caller News Foundation that committee members must agree to expedited proceedings, and that the delay isn’t anticipated to greatly change the chronology of the confirmation process.

“An expedited path for a hearing (in very unusual circumstances, to say the least) requires consent. The delay is not expected to significantly alter the confirmation timeline,” the source told the DCNF.

Ned Price, Biden transition team spokesman, said the transition team was “disappointed” by the delay, according to CNN.

“DNI-designate Haines was looking forward to appearing before the Committee tomorrow. We are disappointed the hearing was delayed, particularly given the urgency to have national security leaders in place in this time of crisis,” Price said, according to CNN.

A source familiar with the delay said a senator wished the hearing to happen in-person and Friday’s session was going to take place remotely, according to CNN.

Haines was the CIA’s deputy director in 2013 until 2015, and was deputy national security advisor until 2017, Axios reported. If confirmed, Haines would be the first woman to hold the top intelligence community position.

Biden’s team called for his national security picks to have swift confirmation hearings particularly after the riots at the Capitol Jan. 6, political tensions around the world and threats of unrest around Biden’s inauguration, Axios reported.

Biden’s transition team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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