On Tuesday, President Trump expressed that his nominee to be the next director of national intelligence is Rep. John Ratcliffe. Trump promoted Ratcliffe as “brilliant” and “wonderful,” explaining to reporters at the White House that the Texas Republican would bring order to the intelligence agencies.
“I think we need somebody like that there,” Trump stated. “We need somebody strong that can really rein it in because, as I think you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok,” Trump added. Trump regularly complains that the FBI and Department of Justice were biased against him, leading up to the 2016 election.
The president announced Sunday that he would nominate Ratcliffe, who is viewed as a Trump ally, to replace Dan Coats. The president announced on Friday that on August 15th the current director of national intelligence, Dan Coats would leave his post. During his two-year-long tenure, Mr.Coats (a long-time fixture of the Republican intelligence), has repeatedly clashed with the president.
Ratcliffe was heavily involved in GOP efforts to investigate the FBI’s actions in the early stages of the Russia investigation. A subject he raised with former special counsel Robert Mueller during Mueller’s testimony last week. Mr.Coats, a former senator, is widely respected in Washington but had differences with the president over the Russia investigation.
The intelligence chief was of the view that Moscow, which allegedly interfered in the 2016 presidential election, remained a danger to the U.S.; Mr. Trump had a different perspective. Some Senate Democrats have expressed reservations about Ratcliffe’s nomination, saying the DNI should not be a partisan appointee.
“It’s clear that Rep Ratcliffe was selected, he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning of former special counsel Robert Mueller,” Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said in a statement.
“If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake.” Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic presidential primary candidate, also condemned Mr.Ratcliffe’s nomination. “Our director of National Intelligence should be above partisan politics, speak truth to power, and resist Trump’s abuses of authority. John Ratcliffe doesn’t fit that bill.
Trump on Tuesday also downplayed any “conflict” with coats on Tuesday, “I like Dan; he’s a friend of mine. I think he’s a terrific person. I like him a lot,” Trump said. “And there really wasn’t conflict. I think it was confusion more than conflict,” the president added. During his tenure as the top intelligence official, Coats notably broke with the president a handful of times.
Coats undermined the president’s public optimism about talks in regards to denuclearization with North Korea during a Senate hearing, in which he cast uncertainty on the odds of the nation giving up its arsenal. Also, he responded awkwardly to the news, that the White House had requested for Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the White House. An incident that is said to have frustrated Trump. Mr. Coats will join a long list of senior officials to leave the administration since Mr. Trump took office.
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