John Ratcliffe Dropped from Director of National Intelligence Consideration

Congressman John Ratcliffe said Friday that he was withdrawing his name from the Director of National Intelligence consideration.

What We Know:

  • President Trump tweeted on Sunday that he had chosen Ratcliffe to take over the job from former DNI Dan Coats, who will leave office on Aug. 15. This announcement ended speculation that Coats would resign or be fired from this role. Coats’ public statements for the intelligence community often were contrary to Trump’s policy outcomes, which occasionally upset Trump.
  • Ratcliffe’s decision comes after he faced scrutiny over his qualifications for the role. Democrats and some Republicans raised questions about whether Ratcliffe exaggerated his work as a federal prosecutor of terrorism cases. His congressional bio claimed he “put terrorists in prison” during his four years as a prosecutor and U.S. attorney for eastern Texas. However, his name does not appear in court documents for terrorism-related cases, according to CBS.
  • The president believes Ratcliffe is being treated harshly by the media. Trump tweeted that Ratcliffe was “being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media” and that he would nominate someone else to the role “shortly.” He also said that he was considering the Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Sue Gordon, to serve as acting director.
  • This announcement serves as another reversal for the president. It highlights recurring issues in the White House selection and vetting process that haunts the administration. Ratcliffe joins a list of Trump administration appointees who pulled their names after the president announced his plans to place them in powerful positions.
  • “This is as close as Trump will ever get to acknowledging that the individual he nominated is so woefully under-qualified for DNI,” said Ned Price, a national security spokesman for the Barack Obama administration.

We’ll see who Trump’s new selection is in a few days.