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Senate panel approves Pompeo for secretary of state after Rand Paul changes his mind

Last Updated Apr 23, 2018 9:49 PM EDT

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be secretary of state in a party line vote. One Republican switched his vote late in the day, enabling Pompeo's nomination to advance to a vote by the full Senate.

Pompeo, had faced serious opposition before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's vote until Monday. However, though he earlier did not appear to have enough votes to recommend him to the full Senate, he ended up with a slim majority after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, changed his mind. President Trump said a few days ago that Rand Paul was a "very special guy" who has "never let me down."

"I just finished speaking to @realDonaldTrump, after speaking to him several times today. I also met with and spoke to Director Pompeo," Paul tweeted Monday. "Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State," Paul added.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, had also expressed some reservations about Pompeo, but told CBS News' Ed O'Keefe that he had also decided to support Pompeo's nomination. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, last week became the first Democrat to announce her support for Pompeo.

Pompeo recently visited with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, ahead of a meeting that's being planned between Kim and President Trump. He was named to the post of the nation's top diplomat after Mr. Trump fired Rex Tillerson last month. 

Senators like Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who was among the last Democrats on the foreign relations panel to announce his no vote, have said they're concerned that Pompeo won't speak up when he disagrees with the president, that he "will embolden, rather than moderate or restrain" Trump's "most belligerent and dangerous instincts." 

In a statement Friday, Coons said, "On vital decisions facing our country, Director Pompeo seems less concerned with rule of law and partnership with our allies and more inclined to emphasize unilateral action and the use of force."