US President Donald Trump declared Republican lawmaker John Ratcliffe because his intelligence leader Friday, sparking new controversy on an essential place that has lacked a permanent officeholder for decades.
The 53-year-old Trump loyalist was nominated as director of national intelligence following Dan Coats resigned in July this past year, but withdrew from consideration following strong criticism of his qualifications from Democrats along with a tepid reaction from key Republicans.
Trump instead appointed counterterrorism specialist Joseph McGuire as acting manager, overseeing the 17 agencies of the intelligence community such as the CIA and National Security Agency.
However, he compelled McGuire out on February 20 following a senior intelligence officer told Congress at a closed briefing the Russians were supporting Trump’s bid to get re-election.
However, the former ambassador to Germany had no related expertise and has been seen as highly political.
Some intelligence experts see the most recent nomination for a strategy by Trump to make sure the Grenell remains on past the statutory limitation for”behaving” directors who have not been accepted by the Senate.
“The proper entry of his nomination allows @RichardGrenell to continue to function as Acting DNI past March 11 – and also for another 210 days following Ratcliffe’s withdrawal or rejection,” said University of Texas safety law professor Steve Vladeck.
Ratcliffe was a vocal Trump defender, often appearing on Fox News to spread conspiracy theories and deny that the intelligence community’s decision that Russia attempted to raise the president’s election campaign in 2016.
Trump said Friday he’d held back Ratcliffe’s proper nomination while an undercover”inspector general report” was prepared.
“John is an outstanding man of excellent talent!” He tweeted.
Trump was decided to put someone dangerously near him as leader of the intelligence community, that he sees as hostile and filled with leakers.
He watched Coats, who had been DNI for three decades, as a political antagonist who shielded the so-called”deep state” which Trump regards as a hurdle for his schedule.
He was particularly upset if a CIA analyst filed a whistleblower complaint in August on his own Ukraine dealings that resulted in his being impeached for misuse of power.
“I anticipate getting Congressman Ratcliffe’s official nomination and steered it during the Senate’s normal sequence,” he explained in a statement.
“The last time that this nomination was put forward, severe bipartisan queries were raised concerning Rep. Ratcliffe’s history and credentials,” he explained.
“It is difficult for me to determine how anything new has happened to change this.”