Trump met with Nunes to discuss potential replacements for Dan Coats: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE reportedly met with Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald Nunes10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable A Republican Watergate veteran's perspective on a Trump impeachment Meet the lawyer at center of whistleblower case: 'It is an everyday adventure' MORE (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, to discuss possible replacements for Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats281 lobbyists have worked in Trump administration: report Former intelligence chief Coats rejoins law firm Remembering leaders who put country above party MORE.

Politico, citing three people familiar with the meeting, reported on Monday that Trump met with Nunes and a group of senior White House officials last week about potential figures who could replace Coats.

The meeting came as speculation grows about whether Coats will depart from his leadership role in the intelligence community. Axios first reported earlier this month that Trump told confidants he was thinking about replacing him. 

ADVERTISEMENT

A senior White House official later told CNN that there has been some discussion about Coats departing from his position. Coats has dismissed the reports, telling The Hill that the "rumors" are "frustrating.

Politico noted that Trump's allies have promoted multiple candidates to replace Coats, including Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst who once served as chief of staff to national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPutin, Hungarian leader pushed Trump on Ukraine corruption narrative: reports Gadhafi's ghost still haunts US policymakers Trump job approval slips 2 points in Gallup poll MORE

Some inside the intelligence community have pushed for Sue Gordon, principal deputy director of national intelligence, to be considered. 

Trump's meeting with Nunes is noteworthy given the Republican lawmaker's views on intelligence issues. Like Trump, he has accused those inside the intelligence community of improperly using their authority for political purposes. 

One member of Congress told Politico that because of this similarity, he considers Nunes a candidate to replace Coats. 

“The president would certainly consider Devin Nunes for the director’s position, and I eventually see him serving in some capacity in this administration,” an unnamed U.S. lawmaker said, adding that he's only seen Nunes work toward reelection in Congress. 

The prospect of Nunes, who served on Trump's presidential transition team, being considered for intelligence chief has sparked anxiety in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a person with direct knowledge told Politico. 

Nunes faced scrutiny for his conduct as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee during Trump's first two years in the White House. Among other things, he launched an investigation into surveillance abuses by the FBI and Justice Department during the Obama administration. 

In February 2018, he released a classified memo alleging abuse of government surveillance powers by the Justice Department after receiving authorization from Trump. The Justice Department strongly objected to its release. 

Trump has repeatedly heaped praise on the GOP lawmaker. He said in March that Nunes would someday "be hailed as a great American hero."

Nunes and the White House did not provide comment to Politico. The White House and Nunes's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

The ODNI also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.