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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Leon Panetta, the current CIA chief and Obama’s chosen replacement for outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, avoided getting too specific on the the size of next month’s planned withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan today when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing. Both Panetta and the president have indicated the pullout of troops would be “substantial,” a stark contrast in tone with Gates, who has repeatedly warned about a “rush to the exits.”

There’s almost no chance that Panetta’s nomination will get rejected–he did, after all, oversee the CIA operation that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. [NYT]

 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) declared on Sunday morning that she will oppose any Republican attempt to move ahead with a Supreme Court nomination to fill the seat left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

"For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election," said Murkowski in a statement released by her office. "Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed."

The Alaska Republican joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in opposing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's announced determination to replace Ginsburg with a Trump appointee. If McConnell loses two more Republican votes, he will be unable to move a nomination before Election Day.