Confirmation Hearing for Biden’s Director of Intelligence Nominee Postponed

January 15, 2021 Updated: January 15, 2021

The confirmation hearing for President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has been postponed to next week, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced on Thursday.

The confirmation hearing for Biden’s spy chief nominee Avril Haines was initially scheduled to take place virtually on Friday.

“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,” acting Intelligence Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the committee’s vice-chair, said in a 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.”

Haines’ hearing was the first nominee in Biden’s proposed cabinet scheduled for a confirmation hearing at Capitol hill. The postponement means Haines will have to join other nominees who will face senators in a confirmation hearing. The hearing for Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, is scheduled for Jan. 19.

Haines may face some tough questioning during her hearing. Rubio has previously expressed his concerns over Biden’s cabinet picks.

“Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline. I support American greatness and I have no interest in returning to the ‘normal’ that left us dependent on China,” he posted on Twitter in November.

Meanwhile, Warner has expressed support over Haines’ nomination.

“Avril is smart and capable, with a background that will serve her well as Director of National Intelligence. While I expect that she will face rigorous questioning from Senators on both sides of the aisle, the sooner we can get a confirmed DNI in place to start fixing the damage the last four years have done to our intelligence agencies, the better,” Warner wrote in a statement.

financial disclosure form (pdf) for Haines revealed that she worked as a consultant and principal at WestExec. She also reported $180,000 in fees from Palantir, the analytics company.

WestExec is an advisory firm co-founded by Blinken after his tenure as Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

Officials for Joe Biden’s transition team in an interview with Fox News on Thursday are urging the Senate to quickly confirm Biden’s nominees for his national security team.

“Our national security is at stake as the United States fights its way out of this unprecedented public health crisis and historic economic downturn,” Andrew Bates, spokesman for the team, told Fox News. “And in the face of urgent threats, including more actions planned by violent extremists after the storming of the Capitol, we cannot afford gaps in national security leadership or more delays on the part of Senate Republicans.”

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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