National intelligence director departing, Rep. Ratcliffe to be nominated to replace

Dan Coats will step down on Aug. 15 as director of national intelligence, according to President Donald Trump.

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The president said he intended to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to replace Coats and would name an acting director in the interim.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, speaks during the House GOP post-caucus press conference in the Capitol, March 26, 2019.

“A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves,” Trump wrote.

Ratcliffe had a tense exchange with former special counsel Robert Mueller during his congressional testimony last week. He has served on the House Intelligence Committee for seven months.

(MORE: ‘Maybe he’s overstayed his welcome’: Trump confidant speculates on the future of top intel chief)

The departure was first reported by Axios and The New York Times. Multiple sources had confirmed Coats’ departure and Ratcliffe’s likely nomination to ABC News.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to requests for comment.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters, FILE

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about "worldwide threats" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 29, 2019.

(MORE: ‘As we sit here’: Mueller sounds alarm for 2020 election threats from Russia, others)

Coats has in the past warned about the threat of Russian interference in U.S. elections — in sharp contrast to language used by Trump. He has served as director of national intelligence, overseeing the nation’s intelligence agencies, for two years; Trump appointed him.

He testified before the the Senate Intelligence Committee that foreign adversaries were “probably already are looking to the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests.”

This year, he wrote that competitors such as Russia, China and Iran “probably already are looking to the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests.”

Trump has often been critical of the the intelligence community since he took office, frequently referencing a “deep state” that he says opposes him.


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