President Donald Trump just announced his nominee to fill the director of national intelligence position — Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees who is known as a strong ally of the president.
Ratcliffe nomination announced
President Trump’s announcement, perhaps unsurprisingly, came by way of a tweet posted on Friday.
“I am pleased to announce the nomination of @RepRatcliffe (Congressman John Ratcliffe) to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Would have completed process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished. John is an outstanding man of great talent!” Trump tweeted.
I am pleased to announce the nomination of @RepRatcliffe (Congressman John Ratcliffe) to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Would have completed process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished. John is an outstanding man of great talent!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2020
If successfully confirmed, Ratcliffe will replace acting DNI Rick Grenell, formerly the U.S. ambassador to Germany who recently stepped up to temporarily fill the vacancy left by outgoing acting DNI Joseph Maguire.
Nominated once before
According to the Washington Examiner, Ratcliffe was previously nominated to the same position last summer when he was picked to succeed then-outgoing DNI Dan Coats.
Unfortunately, Ratcliffe ultimately withdrew himself from consideration following intense negative attention from Democrats and the media.
Questions arose about his credentials and experience as well as allegations that he had somehow embellished his resume. Other more blatant attacks accused him of being a “blindly loyal” lackey to President Trump who had no business being in charge of the nation’s intelligence agencies.
Now, according to Trump’s tweet, it also appears that Ratcliffe perhaps wanted to remain in the House a little longer to deal with the Justice Department inspector general’s report on past abuse by the FBI of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and spy warrants.
Democrats, media oppose Ratcliffe
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who led the charge against Ratcliffe the first time around and is the one who deemed him “blindly loyal” to Trump, rehashed the same critique upon receiving word that Ratcliffe had been nominated to replace Grenell — who Democrats similarly despise — for the same position again.
“Replacing one highly partisan operative with another does nothing to keep our country safe,” Schumer said in a statement. “At a time when the Russians are interfering in our elections, we need a nonpartisan leader at the helm of the Intelligence Community who sees the world objectively and speaks truth to power, and unfortunately neither Acting Director Grenell nor Rep. Ratcliffe comes even close to that.”
Schumer and other Democrats don’t like Ratcliffe because he is an incredibly smart and strong defender of President Trump — as exemplified by his actions during the House impeachment inquiry as well as his questioning of former special counsel Robert Mueller.
Ratcliffe is also one of the few members of Congress who has likely seen all of the classified material underlying the “Spygate” scandal of the prior administration … knowledge he will now hopefully put to use in straightening up the intelligence community.