Trump's pick for intel chief to get hearing next week

Trump's pick for intel chief to get hearing next week
© Greg Nash

President Trump’s pick to head the intelligence community, former Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet America's divide widens: Ignore it no longer Trump gives Grenell his Cabinet chair after he steps down MORE (R-Ind.), is scheduled to have his Senate confirmation hearing next week, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday.

Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Biden campaign adds staff in three battleground states Exclusive investigation on the coronavirus pandemic: Where was Congress? MORE (R-N.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats MORE (D-Va.), the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate panel, respectively, announced that Coats' hearing to become director of national intelligence will take place Tuesday.

Trump formally announced Coats as his pick for the position in early January, saying at the time that Coats "has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community."

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“If confirmed as director of national intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm," Trump said. 

If confirmed, Coats will lead the 16 federal agencies that are often collectively called the intelligence community. Coats needs a simple majority in the Senate to be confirmed, and Republicans hold 52 seats.

The former senator, who left Congress in January, previously served on the Senate Intelligence Committee and as an ambassador to Germany during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Coats was banned from Russia in 2014 after announcing support for U.S. sanctions against the Kremlin for its annexation of Crimea.

Trump signaled throughout his presidential campaign and since taking office that he hopes to improve relations with Russia.

The intelligence community in a declassified report released last month concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at helping Trump win the White House.

Coats's hearing comes just two weeks after the resignation of Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Flynn resigned after it was revealed he misled Vice President Pence and other White House officials about his conversation with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office.