Deputy intelligence director under Trump resigns

Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon is resigning from her post amid turnover at the top of the agency, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE announced Thursday.

Trump added in a later tweet that National Counterterrorism Center Director Joseph Maguire will serve as acting Director of National Intelligence.

In a note accompanying her formal letter, Gordon wrote that she offered her resignation "as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference."

"You should have your team," she wrote, implying it was not her choice to move on.

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"I am confident in what the Intelligence Community has accomplished and what is poised going forward," she wrote in her letter. "Know that our people are our strength, and they will never fail you or the Nation. You are in good hands."

Gordon, a career intelligence official, was set to ascend to the top post as director of national intelligence following the departure of Dan Coats later this month.

But the White House had been weighing removing her in favor of installing a Trump loyalist, despite concerns from Capitol Hill, where Gordon is widely respected.

The move further throws into chaos the leadership atop DNI, which is tasked with overseeing the nation's various intelligence agencies.

Trump last month announced Coats would leave in mid-August and that he planned to name Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules White House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team MORE (R-Texas) to lead the agency. But Ratcliffe last week withdrew from consideration amid scrutiny of his record and concerns that he would be too partisan for the job.

The president told reporters last Friday that he likes Gordon and that she would be "considered" for the acting role.

“Sue will be there now and certainly she will be considered for the acting," Trump said.

He added he had three people he is considering for the permanent role of DNI, though he has not provided any names.

Bypassing Gordon for the role of acting director required her to leave or be removed from her current position, as the law states the deputy director should replace the director in the event of a change.

In a statement, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Schiff says Justice Roberts should rule on witnesses Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line MORE (D-Calif.) called Gordon's and Coats's retirements a "devastating loss" for the intelligence community.

"These losses of leadership, coupled with a president determined to weed out anyone who may dare disagree, represent one of the most challenging moments for the Intelligence Community," Schiff said. "It will be up to the Congress to ensure that the Intelligence Community continues to provide independent analysis and judgement to policy makers, and always speak truth to power."

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats worry Trump team will cherry-pick withheld documents during defense Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill MORE (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, echoed Schiff's remarks, praising Gordon and lambasting Trump over the intelligence officials' exits.

"President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is seemingly incapable of hearing facts that contradict his own views," he said. "The mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power; Yet in pushing out two dedicated public servants in as many weeks, once again the President has shown that he has no problem prioritizing his political ego even if it comes at the expense of our national security.

Bloomberg first reported on Gordon's departure, followed by The New York Times. Below is Gordon's letter of resignation.

 

Updated 8:40 p.m.