President Trump's nominee to lead the CIA, Deputy Director Gina Haspel, nearly withdrew herself from consideration for the job over concerns that she would face a hard confirmation process thanks to her role in the George W. Bush administration's torture regime.
Haspel's offer to withdraw on Friday was prompted by growing concern among her supporters that White House staff were becoming nervous that the nomination was in trouble, the sources said.
After weekend reports that President Donald Trump's nominee for Central Intelligence Agency director, Gina Haspel, was considering withdrawing her name from consideration, Jeremy Bash flatly refuted those talking points on Kasie DC.
So Haspel wanted to step aside to avoid Wednesday's intense interrogation in the Senate, during which nobody will cover her face with cloth, turn her upside down and pour water until she thinks she's about to drown.
After her offer to withdraw, White House aides worked to reassure her that she had the president's support.
"There has been a fascinating phenomenon over the last few weeks".
Her confirmation hearing, set for May 9, was already expected to end with a close vote.More news: Sam Bennett finishes third in Giro d'Italia stage three
The last-minute scramble came ahead of what is expected to be a tough grilling of Ms. Haspel over her role in the C.I.A.'s interrogation program created in the wake of the September 11 attacks, including secret prisons the agency established around the world to interrogate suspects. Eventually the tension seemed to ease, and as of now her nomination stands, the sources said.
While the White House has been concerned about her past involvement with the CIA's controversial interrogation program, administration officials said they ultimately believe she will get confirmed. She served nearly entirely undercover and much of her record is classified.
Many details of Haspel's work remain classified.
Haspel, one official said, was wary of suffering the same fate as failed veterans affairs nominee Ronny Jackson and of dredging up the CIA's troubled past.
Earlier the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also -a bit overzealously- dashed to defend Trump's nominee, facing harsh criticism for playing the feminist and women's empowerment card way too openly.
Only on Saturday afternoon was the White House assured she would not withdraw, the Post quoted the officials as saying. "I think in her mode of really putting the agency before herself, she said, if it's going to harm the CIA, I don't need to be part of this".