Trump expected to nominate Texas GOP lawmaker to replace Dan Coats: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE is reportedly expected to nominate Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeHere are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing Documents show Ukraine knew by August that aid was being withheld: NYT Five takeaways from US envoy's explosive testimony MORE (R-Texas) to replace Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats

Axios, citing three people familiar with the president's deliberations, reported on the development Sunday. The news outlet noted that Trump was especially enthusiastic about Ratcliffe's questioning of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE during his congressional testimony last week.


Ratcliffe denounced some of the findings in Mueller's report during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, saying it wasn't Mueller's job to "conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence."

"I agree with Chairman [Jerrold] Nadler [D-N.Y.] this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law," Ratcliffe said. "But he damn sure should not be below the law, which is where Volume 2 of this report puts him."

Advisers to the president told Axios that Trump had already been considering Ratcliffe for the position before Mueller's testimony. Ratcliffe had also reportedly been on Trump's shortlist to replace former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMedill dean 'deeply troubled by the vicious bullying and badgering' of student journalists Trump has considered firing official who reported whistleblower complaint to Congress: report Northwestern student paper apologizes for coverage of 'traumatic' Jeff Sessions event MORE following Sessions's dismissal last November. 

CNN reported last week that Ratcliffe has been under consideration for a job in the administration, but the report did not specify which position. Advisers stressed to Axios that Trump could still change his mind about the decision.  

Coats is expected to step down from his position in the coming days, people familiar with the decision told The New York Times

The White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.  

Speculation has persisted in recent weeks about whether Coats would leave his position atop the intelligence community. Axios first reported earlier this month that Trump told confidants he was thinking about replacing him. 

That was then followed by a report from Politico saying Trump had met with Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHere are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing Nunes pressed on Fox News about comparing impeachment inquiry to a 'coup' Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Calif.) about potential replacements for Coats. 

Coats at the time dismissed the reports about his potential exit, telling The Hill that the "rumors" were "frustrating."

Ratcliffe is a former federal prosecutor who has served in Congress since 2015. He has been repeatedly critical of how Democrats have responded to Mueller's report on his probe into Russia's election interference. 

Ratcliffe's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

UPDATED 2:38 p.m.