Senate confirms Mattis as Defense secretary

As the Senate voted on retired Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary, he easily cleared the 50-vote majority threshold. New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was the first and so far only senator to vote against him.

The Senate was set to vote next on retired Gen. John Kelly for homeland security secretary.

The Senate was not expected to consider Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA director until Monday, after at least three Democrats objected to his quick confirmation over concerns including surveillance, though a deal was possible to allow the vote to proceed Friday.

The two expected confirmations were fewer than the seven targeted by the Trump transition team. They had hoped to meet the number that President Barack Obama had on his Inauguration Day, but Senate Democrats have objected to many of Trump’s nominees.