President Trump on Friday said he is nominating Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe to serve as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), months after the Republican congressman abruptly withdrew his name for the post.
“I am pleased to announce the nomination of @RepRatcliffe (Congressman John Ratcliffe) to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI),” the president tweeted. “Would have completed process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished. John is an outstanding man of great talent!”
Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor who had been a fierce defender of Trump and his agenda, was one of the most vocal critics of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Ratcliffe will likely face a fierce confirmation battle as Democrats have argued he was selected due to his loyalty rather than experience.
“With this nomination, President Trump has shown once again his lack of respect for the rule of law and the intelligence community. Republicans must join Democrats in swiftly rejecting the nomination of Mr. Ratcliffe,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader. He called Ratcliffe a “highly partisan operative.”
In August, Trump announced that Ratcliffe would be withdrawing as his nominee for director of national intelligence just days after announcing him as his pick, citing his tough treatment at the hands of “the LameStream Media.”
In a tweet at the time, Trump said that Ratcliffe, whom he tapped to replace Dan Coats, will stay in Congress. But on Friday, he announced plans — again — to nominate Ratcliffe.
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Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, was appointed last week by Trump to serve as acting DNI while Trump considered who he would nominate to take over the job more permanently. Grenell is an outspoken Trump loyalist with a large conservative following on Twitter and also the first openly gay person to serve in a cabinet-level position.
“Congratulations, @RepRatcliffe!” Grenell tweeted. “We are ready for you and grateful for your willingness to serve.”
Late last week it was reported that Trump was considering Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., for the permanent Director of National Intelligence job, but Collins told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that while he’s humbled by the possible offer, he is focused on running for Senate and would not accept the job.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.