Trump expected to nominate Texas GOP lawmaker to replace Dan Coats: report
President Trump is reportedly expected to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (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 Mueller 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 Sessions 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 Nunes (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.
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