WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will search for a new director of national intelligence after deciding his first choice — Rep. John Ratcliffe — would face a rough and possible unsuccessful confirmation process in the Senate.
Trump accused the media of torpedoing the nomination. However, Ratcliffe never garnered strong positive support from Senate Republicans given what he said was his scant experience in intelligence issues and some questions about his background.
Additionally, a few hours before Trump announced his change of mind on Friday, the White House received an email, originally sent to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, as to how Ratcliffe promoted a company accused of being instrumental in the reprisal against a whistleblower and its cybersecurity efforts, according to news reports.
That information had been provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
Ratcliffe is a three-term Republican congressman from Texas and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He was tabbed by Trump to replace Dan Coats, who is resigning from the job as director of national intelligence on Aug. 15.
There were also several media reports that highlighted unexplained parts of Ratcliffe’s biography and what appeared to be exaggerations in what he said he accomplished as a former U.S. Attorney in Texas.
No news names have surfaced as Coats’ replacement. The New York Times reported that Trump plans to prevent Sue Gordon, the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, from taking over as acting spy chief when Coats leaves, per a federal statute.