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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE is reportedly expected to nominate Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeHillicon Valley: Google extending remote work policy through July 2021 | Intel community returns final Russia report to Senate committee after declassification | Study finds election officials vulnerable to cyberattacks Intel community returns final Russia report volume to Senate after declassification review Hillicon Valley: Feds warn hackers targeting critical infrastructure | Twitter exploring subscription service | Bill would give DHS cyber agency subpoena power 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE during his congressional testimony last week.

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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 SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign 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 NunesHouse Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Nunes declines to answer if he received information from Ukraine lawmaker meant to damage Biden White House, Congress talk next coronavirus relief bill as COVID-19 continues to surge 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.