Kelly Sadler was discussing the ailing senator's opposition to the president's pick for CIA director, Gina Haspel, at a White House meeting Thursday, two people present tell The Associated Press.
Mike Pompeo, the nominee for secretary of state, barely avoids a rebuke as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommends him.
Senators demand answers from the Defense and Justice departments, and a House committee launches an investigation into the issue after an AP exposé.
The White House charges Moscow with an elaborate plot to hack American infrastructure and for the first time orders sanctions for election meddling.
Gina Haspel, a career spymaster, had a front-row seat to the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects between 2003 and 2005.
The centrist proposal is winning support among Democrats, but it faces an uncertain fate.