>> The Senate's center stage for more political theater Thursday, with a packed agenda of confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's cabinet picks. In the hot seat, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson tapped to head Housing and Urban Development. Focusing Thursday on his hardscrabble roots as a kid on food stamps in Detroit.
>> I have actually in my life understood what housing insecurity was.>> But the biggest hurdle for the retired neurosurgeon, no government experience despite making a presidential run.>> Some people say but medicine, why would you go into something like HUD? Well, I actually believe that there's a tremendous nexus, a great intersection, because good health has a lot to do with a good environment.
>> Trump's choice to lead the CIA, Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, no fan of Russia's. A position held by most in the intelligence community but not necessarily by the President-elect. A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Pompeo is nevertheless a CIA outsider. His hearing coming at a time when US spy agencies have come under attack by Trump.
And James Mad Dog Mattis going before the Senate as Trump's Defense Secretary nominee, also deferring from his would be boss on Russia.>> I'm all for engagement, but we also have to recognize reality and what Russia is up to.>> The former Marine General also needs a waiver for a law requiring military officers to wait seven years after retirement to be able to lead the Pentagon.
Mattis retired in 2013 and is well short of the rule. And still facing the music, former ExxonMobile CEO Rex Tillerson, up for Secretary of State whose senate hearing continues Thursday.