President Trump announced Sunday that GOP MP John Ratcliffe of Texas, a staunch White House ally, will replace Dan Coats as director of the National Intelligence Service (DNI) after months of speculation and public clashes between the president and the intelligence community.
The move promptly sparked outrage among many top democrats who accused the president of appointing a blindly loyal yes-man for the key post.
A knowledgeable source told Fox News that Coats had never seen his 2017 appointment as a long-term bid. Ratcliffe is well-versed in the intelligence community after alerting important parts of the Republican-led investigation to obvious abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the FBI and the Justice Department.
"I am pleased to announce that the highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas has been named Director of the National Intelligence Service by me," Trump tweeted .
"A former US lawyer, John, will guide and inspire the size of the country he loves," added Trump. "Dan Coats, the current director, will resign on August 15. I want to thank Dan for his great service to our country, and the acting director will be appointed shortly." During his two-year tenure and frayed relationship, there was a broader split between the president and the government intelligence services.
For example, Coats revealed to the investigators of former Special Representative Robert Mueller how Trump was angered by the investigation of links between his election campaign and in March 2017 Russia tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to make a public statement refuting any connection ,
"Coats responded that the Office of the National Intelligence Director (ODNI) had nothing to do with investigation and that it was not his role to make a public statement on the Russia investigation," Mueller's report said.
And last year at the Aspen Security Forum, Coats hit a double, as host Andrea Mitchell On stage, it became known that Vladimir Putin is planning a trip to Washington.
"Say that again?" he asked to laugh in the audience. "OK, that's going to be special."
Later, Coats said he did not disregard Trump and admitted that the moment was "unpleasant."
"Some press reports have misidentified my intentions to respond to current news presented to me during a live interview. My admittedly unpleasant response should in no way disrespect or criticize the President's actions, "said Coats.
In a statement, Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., condemned Ratcliffe's selection and pointed to the performance of the congressman during his hearings with Mueller last week.
During his interrogation, Ratcliffe told tired Mueller that he had acted and trampled incorrectly by mentioning in his report that Trump had not been "relieved." 19659003] "It is clear that Rep. Ratcliffe was selected because he was blindly loyal to President Trump with his demagogic interrogation of former Special Adviser Robert Muller," said Schumer sai d. "If the Republicans of the Senate put such a partisan player to a position would require intelligence expertise and bipartisanship big mistake. "
Mark Warner, a member of the Senate's Senate Intelligence Committee, D-Virginia, praised Coats's term of office to remain" faithful "to the intelligence community's mission.
The reaction of Republican legislators to Ratcliffe's selection was consistently positive. Alabama MP Mike Rogers, a Republican and senior member of Homeland Security Committee, described Ratcliffe as an "excellent choice as director of national intelligence."
"His experience on Homeland Security and former cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection The Chair of the Subcommittee on Innovation will serve him well in this new role," Rogers said. "I thank Director Coats for his leadership and years of service in the public sector."
And Jim Jordan, Republican of the senior oversight committee in Ohio, said Ratcliffe was a "great choice."
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In recent days there has been speculation about coats. Sources told Fox News earlier this month that Trump recently talked to two people about the job. Among the candidates he considered At that time were General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Fred Fleitz, who previously served as Chief of Staff of National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Trump already withdrew the possibility of employment with Fleitz far back than February and asked if he was interested, but did not offer it officially. It is unclear how many other potential candidates could have been in the mix.
Trump is beaten regularly and openly with Coats and the intelligence community. "Perhap The secret service should go back to school! ", He tweeted in January after Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel testified about a threat assessment report that questioned some of Trump's foreign policy rulings.
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Coats said it is "unlikely" that North Korea will abandon or be able to produce its nuclear weapons because "its leaders eventually consider nuclear weapons vital to the regime." Coats and other officials also contradicted Trump's positions on Iran, Afghanistan and ISIS.
"The intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran, they are wrong!" Trump answered. "When I became president, Iran caused trouble throughout the Middle East and beyond, and since the end of the terrible Iranian nuclear deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict."
Ratcliffe, on the other hand, appeared to be on the same page as the president. He has grilled Mueller and Democrats at last week's Congressional hearings, and told Fox News on Sunday that Mueller effectively destroyed the presumption of innocence by saying Trump was not "relieved."
"By challenging Donald Trump to prove his innocence." Ratcliffe said in an interview with "Sunday Morning Futures" by Fox News that Ratcliffe has won re-election with more than 70 percent of the votes in his district in 2018 have repeated this argument in the hearings of the House Judiciary Committee You should relieve him or not, "said Ratcliffe to Mueller.
He added, "Americans need to know this when they listen to Democrats and Socialists across the Ganges while dramatizing. From this report, it is clear that Volume II of this report was not entitled to be drafted by law ,
"It was drafted according to a rule of law that does not exist in the Ministry of Justice, and it has written additional comments from the Procuratorate in violation of any DOJ principle," he continued. "I agree with the chairman this morning when he said Donald Trump was not above the law. He is not. But he damn sure should not be under the law where he stands in Volume II of this report. "
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Coats, a former Republican Senator from Indiana, appointed Director of National Intelligence in March 2017. On September 11, 2001, attacks were launched to monitor and coordinate the country's 17 intelligence agencies.
After his victory in 2016, the President's continued to tire Coats were one of the last experienced foreign policy hands surrounding the President. As he gained more personal confidence in Oval Office, officials said that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and later National Security Advisor HR McMaster had made a name for themselves soberly before the president of the secret services, who occasionally contradicted Trump's political goals.
Jo Roberts, Catherine Herridge, Gillian Turner and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to the report.