Trump considering Doug Collins as nominee for director of national intelligence
President Trump on Thursday said he is considering Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) to serve as director of national intelligence.
Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One while traveling to Nevada from a Colorado campaign rally that Collins is among the candidates in the running to be nominated to fill the position that has not had a permanent occupant since Dan Coats resigned last August.
Trump was joined in the press cabin by Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White.
The president on Wednesday named U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as the acting intelligence chief, replacing Joseph Maguire, who also served in an acting capacity since Coats’s departure. The director oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies.
Trump’s eventual nominee to serve as director of national intelligence would require Senate confirmation.
Collins has emerged as one of the president’s staunchest allies in the House. As the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Collins defended Trump throughout the impeachment trial and was among the lawmakers who served as a messaging apparatus for his defense team during the Senate trial.
The congressman has launched a Senate campaign to run against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) in what has already become a bitter intraparty fight. Should Trump pick Collins to serve as director of national intelligence, he would likely abandon his Senate bid to serve in the president’s cabinet.
Collins previously worked as a lawyer and served in the military prior to running for public office.
His nomination would likely draw scrutiny from Democrats who have raised concerns about politicizing the intelligence agency and staffing it with loyalists rather than career professionals.
Trump has had a fraught relationship with the intelligence community throughout his time in office. He has repeatedly alleged that he was illegally spied on during his 2016 campaign, he has cast doubt on the intelligence community’s determination that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and he often refers to former leaders of the FBI as “dirty cops,” including as recently as Thursday.
Trump reportedly soured on Maguire as a potential nominee for the permanent role following a House briefing from a senior intelligence official who warned that Russia may try to meddle in the 2020 election to help the incumbent.