Senate advances Coats as national intel chief

Senate advances Coats as national intel chief
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The Senate on Wednesday voted to move forward with former Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsNational counterterrorism chief to retire at the end of year Former intel chief Hayden: Think twice on a Trump job offer Counterintelligence needs reboot for 21st century MORE's (R-Ind.) nomination to serve as President Trump's director of national intelligence.

Senators voted 88-11 to end debate on his nomination, with only a simple majority needed to move forward.

With the Senate expected to leave town Wednesday, Democrats could use the Senate's rulebook to delay a final vote until next week.

But Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock McConnell PAC demands Moore return its money Klobuchar taking over Franken's sexual assault bill MORE (R-Ky.) is signaling that he expects Coats to get a confirmation vote later Wednesday. 

"We're going to wrap up three items here in the Senate during this short week. We're going to do another Congressional Review Act," McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference. "We're going to confirm Dan Coats and we're going to deal with General McMaster's promotion."

Coats is well liked by his former colleagues and is expected to sail through a final vote. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted late last week to send his nomination to the floor, with only two senators voting against him. 

McConnell praised Coats ahead of the vote, calling him an "excellent choice." 

"A few short months ago our colleague, Dan Coats, retired from his post here in the Senate. At that time I had a chance to reflect on our friend's impressive career and I noted that we could expect him to rise to the occasion if called to serve his country once again," he added. 

Trump nominated the former GOP senator, who retired at the end of 2016, for the post in January, giving him control of the intelligence community's 16 agencies if confirmed. 

His confirmation hearing was largely drama-free, though some lawmakers questioned if he was too nice for the role and if he could break through Trump's tight circle of advisers. 

Coats pledged during the hearing that he would push back against Trump if needed and had been reassured that he would be "welcome and needed" as part of the White House National Security Council's Principals Committee. 

“I have been reassured time and time and time again by the president and his advisers that I am welcome and needed and expected to be part of the Principals Committee,” Coats said during his hearing.

Trump reshuffled the Principals Committee of the National Security Council earlier this year. Under that order, Coats would only attend meetings when issues pertinent to his responsibilities are discussed.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress must end American support for Saudi war in Yemen Black men get longer prison sentences than white men for same crimes: study Sarah Palin on sexual harassment: 'People know I'm probably packing' so they 'don't mess with me' MORE (R-Ky.) was the sole Republican to oppose Coats. Other no votes were by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCordray's legacy of consumer protection worth defending Booker tries to find the right lane  Jones raised 0K a day after first Moore accusers came forward: report MORE (Mass.), Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low-income communities Two GOP senators oppose Trump’s EPA chemical safety nominee MORE (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico Photos of the Week: Nov. 13-17 Senate panel approves GOP tax plan MORE (Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrats introduce bill to block Trump's refugee ban Overnight Defense: Army secretary easily confirmed | Army denies changing mental health standards | US to trim peacekeeping funds | House passes bill to speed up approval of battlefield medicines Senate approves Trump's Army pick MORE (Ore.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinStates fill family caregiver void left by Congress Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Dem PAC bullish on Senate chances MORE (Wis.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDem: Ex-lawmaker tried to pin me to elevator door and kiss me In Washington and Hollywood, principle is sad matter of timing Mika Brzezinski: Bill Clinton needs to apologize or stop talking MORE (D-N.Y.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE (Vt.).

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonQuestions loom over Franken ethics probe Senate ethics panel resumes Menendez probe after judge declares mistrial Signs of progress, challenges in fighting Alzheimer's MORE (R-Ga.) was not present at the vote.