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World Champ

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23:57, Nov 04 2018

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- In Thursday's confirmation hearings, President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet nominees had very different treatments, from James Mattis' easy sailing to Ben Carson's tough grilling.

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 24-3 to approve Mattis' nomination, moving the vote onto the Senate floor. The committee also easily passed a waiver exempting Mattis from a law that requires a defense secretary to be retired from service for at least seven years.

Mattis took a clear anti-Russia stance during the hearing, naming the country as "principle threat" to U.S. security.

The stance differs notably from Trump's, who had expressed on multiple occasions the willingness to mend fences with Moscow.

"I have very modest expectations about areas of cooperation with Mr.Putin," Mattis said, referring to the Russian president.

He also said the United States should check Russia's growing influence in the Arctic region.

The stance was well received by members of both parties on the committee, as recent allegations of Russian hacking have sparked particularly strong anti-Russian sentiments among U.S. lawmakers.

Mattis chose to stand apart from Trump on a number of other key issues, including the role of NATO, which Trump said should shrink, and on the Iranian nuclear agreement, which Trump threatened to scrap.

Mattis, who served in the Afghanistan War and the two Gulf Wars, said the U.S. should step up its game in the Middle East and deal a harsh blow to the Islamic State extremist group.

Mike Pompeo, nominee for CIA director, shared Mattis' suspicion against Russia, but received tougher questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee on several other issues.

Pompeo, a congressman from Kansas, promised to actively pursue leads to look into Russian hacking against the United States, and said he agreed with the assessments provided by the U.S. intelligence community that Putin tried to sway the U.S. presidential elections.

Pompeo also said he was against the practice of torture, and would respect legal boundaries for interrogation procedures.

In Ben Carson's hearing at the Senate Banking Committee, the former doctor faced tough questions whether he had adequate experience for his new role as secretary of housing and urban development.

"I have actually in my life understood what housing insecurity was," Carson defended himself, adding he grew up in a poor family and had no place to live during his childhood.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren pressed Carson to promise that no fund will go to any business associated with Trump, who had many real estate ventures across the country.

Carson said his decisions would be driven by a sense of morals and values and that he will not play favorites with anyone.

Thursday marks the third day of the confirmation hearings for Trump's cabinet team, with more hearings scheduled for next week.

Trump has previously expressed confidence that all of his nominations will be confirmed.

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