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Second time’s a charm? Trump nominates Texas Congressman Ratcliffe as DNI chief again

Second time’s a charm? Trump nominates Texas Congressman Ratcliffe as DNI chief again
US President Donald Trump has tapped Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to be the new Director of National Intelligence, pending Senate confirmation. Ratcliffe withdrew his nomination last summer.

The surprise announcement, praising Ratcliffe as “an outstanding man of great talent,” came on Friday afternoon as Trump departed Washington for a campaign rally in South Carolina. 

By way of explanation, Trump said he “would have completed [the] process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after [the] IG Report was finished.” This is a reference to the Justice Department’s inspector-general, who in December delivered his account of the probe into claims of Trump’s “Russian collusion” by the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ratcliffe has been a key ally of Trump’s on the House Judiciary Committee, reviewing the FISA warrants used to spy on the Trump campaign and often sparring with Democrats who pursued Trump’s impeachment – which ultimately sank in the Senate earlier this month.

Trump initially sought to have him confirmed instead of the outgoing director, Dan Coats, in July 2019, only for the Texas congressman to bow out less than a week later.

Also on rt.com Ratcliffe will NOT be national intel director as Trump blames ‘LameStream media’ for withdrawal

“I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue,” Ratcliffe said at the time, following a flurry of hostile press coverage from Trump’s usual critics.

Trump blamed the “lamestream media” for treating Ratcliffe and his family “very unfairly,” and appointed a caretaker to the DNI post. Just last week, he announced that Ambassador Richard Grenell would be the new acting DNI pending a permanent nomination, setting off alarms in the media and among Democrats yet again.

Also on rt.com Trump ‘hitman’ Richard Grenell tipped to take over as US intelligence boss

Ratcliffe’s nomination last year was greeted with the same kind of panic as Grenell’s would be six months later. Both are considered Trump allies who would have a mandate to “clean house” in the US intelligence community, which played an important role in launching the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy. Former DNI, CIA, and FBI heads went on to become prominent Democrat activists or anti-Trump TV pundits. 

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