Mayorkas to address ‘horrifying’ Capitol attack

WASHINGTON (AP): The Latest on Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Joe Biden’s nominees for his administration (all times local):

President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security will address the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol at the start of his Senate confirmation hearing.

Alejandro Mayorkas says in prepared remarks released ahead of the Tuesday hearing that the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot was “horrifying” and authorities still have much to learn about what happened that day and what led to the insurrection.

Mayorkas says that as secretary of Homeland Security he would do everything he can to ensure that “the tragic loss of life, the assault on law enforcement, the desecration of the building that stands as one of the three pillars of our democracy and the terror felt by you, your colleagues, staff, and everyone present, will not happen again.”

If confirmed, the former federal prosecutor and senior Homeland Security official under President Barack Obama would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the department. He would lead one of the largest agencies in government to enforce the nation’s immigration laws and run the immigration services agency as well as the components such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the civilian cybersecurity agency.

President-elect Joe Biden’s national security Cabinet may be bare on Day One of his presidency, but an inauguration eve spurt of Senate confirmation hearings suggests that won’t be the case for long.

President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be America’s top diplomat says he’s ready to confront challenges posed by China, Iran, North Korea and Russia.

Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken also says he’s committed to rebuilding the State Department after four years of atrophy under the Trump administration.

Blinken is set to appear Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In testimony prepared for his appearance, Blinken says he sees a world of rising nationalism and receding democracy. He also says that mounting threats from authoritarian states are reshaping all aspects of human life, particularly in cyberspace.

Blinken says American global leadership still matters and without it rivals will either step in to fill the vacuum or there will be chaos. He says neither choice is palatable.

Blinken also promises to bring Congress in as a full foreign-policy partner, a subtle jab at President Donald Trump’s administration and its secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who routinely ignored or bypassed lawmakers in policy-making.

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director is planning to tell Senate lawmakers that intelligence and national security issues will not be politicized under her watch.

Avril Haines faces a confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate intelligence committee.

Haines will also tell lawmakers that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence must not shy away from “speaking truth to power” even if inconvenient or difficult. That’s according to excerpts of her prepared remarks released ahead of the hearing.

Haines served in the Obama administration as deputy director of the CIA and deputy national security adviser.

If confirmed, Haines would be tasked with restoring stability to an intelligence community that has been repeatedly denigrated by President Donald Trump. She would also be the first woman to hold the position.