Supporters of Haspel are pushing for votes by the Senate intelligence committee and the full Senate before the Memorial Day break, at the end of the month.
While some senators still have not publicly declared their position, Donnelly's backing is likely to give Haspel enough support to win at least 50 votes, the bare minimum for confirmation.
Donnelly voiced his support for Haspel on Twitter Saturday morning, saying he believes Haspel learned from the past and has the experience needed as the US faces "dynamic and challenging security threats".
"Gina Haspel has served our country and the Central Intelligence Agency for more than 30 years, and she has the strong support of both her colleagues at the agency and former CIA Directors [Michael] Hayden, [Leon] Panetta, and [John] Brennan, who served under Presidents Bush and Obama".
Senator Joe Donnelly from IN announced on Saturday that he would would to confirm Haspel to the role, following a meeting with her on Thursday to discuss her nomination that included the use of techniques like waterboarding during interrogation of terror suspects at a base she oversaw IN the early 2000s. Both of them hail from states that Trump won by overwhelming margins.
Both Donnelly and Manchin - who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that must approve Haspel's nomination before Donnelly and the rest of the chamber confirms her - face hard midterm fights this year in states that voted for Trump in 2016.
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Donnelly's support for Haspel comes as he needs to portray himself as someone who doesn't always oppose the president's agenda, and can agree with those on the other side of the aisle. And Haspel did say at her hearing that it wouldn't happen again on her watch. The duo said that they would vote against her confirmation.
Republicans have expressed confidence about Haspel's confirmation, though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's confirmation was particularly grueling. Haspel had previously been serving as deputy director.
Among Republican senators, only McCain and Rand Paul have announced their opposition to Haspel's nomination. "I do better with that than I do with torture".
Criticism of Haspel has centered on her connection to the "enhanced interrogations" conducted during the George W. Bush administration, as well as her involvement in executing the destruction of interrogation tapes.
Haspel delivered an order from her superior to other agency officials to destroy videotapes of the interrogations, including the waterboarding of one of the top al-Qaeda operatives.