President Donald Trump on Sunday stated that Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe, a fierce White House ally, is set to assume the position of Dan Coats as director of national Intellignce (DNI), following months of speculation and public spats between the President and the intelligence community, Fox News informed.
The move initiated immediat outrage from many top Democrats who accused the President of seeking to appoint a blindly loyal yes-man to the key position.
A source close to the matter told Fox News that Coats never saw his 2017 appointment as a long-term proposition. Ratcliffe has been well-versed in the intelligence community after driving key sections of ongoing Republican-led investigations into apparent Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses of the FBI and Justice Department.
Coats submitted his letter of resignation to President Trump on Sunday. Part of it read: “The Intelligence Community is stronger than ever, and increasingly well prepared to meet new challenges and opportunities. As we have previously discussed, I believe it is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life.”
“I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence,” Trump tweeted.
“A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves,” Trump added. “Dan Coats, the current Director, will be leaving office on August 15th. I would like to thank Dan for his great service to our Country. The Acting Director will be named shortly.”
During his mandate, Coats had frequent disagreements with Trump, and their strained relations often portrayed wider divisions between the President and the government’s intelligence agencies.
Coats revealed to then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s officials how Trump, angry due to the probes into links between his campaign and Russia, attempted to get him to make a public statement rebuking any links.
“Coats responded that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has nothing to do with investigations and 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 did a double-take when host Andrea Mitchell broke the news on stage that Vladimir Putin was planning a trip to Washington.
“Say that again?” he asked, to laughter in the audience. “OK, that’s going to be special.”
Coats later said he meant no disrespect to Trump and admitted the moment was “awkward.”
“Some press coverage has mischaracterized my intentions in responding to breaking news presented to me during a live interview. My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the President,” Coats said.