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America's Top Spy Is Calling It Quits: Report

Dan Coats might be replaced by Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2019 2:00 PM CDT
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats speaks at the DC CyberTalks conference, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – America's top spy is on the verge of stepping down after clashing with President Trump for the past two years, the New York Times reports. Dan Coats, who became director of national intelligence in 2017, is expected to leave in the next few days. Axios reports that Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, who thrilled Trump by scolding Robert Mueller in this week's House Judiciary Committee hearing, will likely get the job. As for Coats, he has long irked the president with his private and public statements. In 2017, he told House investigators Trump wanted him to say the president had been exonerated by the Russia probe, the Hill recently recalled. A year later, Coats opposed Trump's contention that Russia had no motive for interfering in the 2016 US elections.

"We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security," said Coats. Some identified Coats as the author of an anonymous 2018 Times op-ed criticizing Trump, which Coats denied. As for Ratcliffe, Trump sources say the president was considering him before the Mueller hearing—but the Republican attacked memorably, saying Mueller hadn't been ordered to determine Trump's guilt or innocence. "I agree with Chairman Nadler this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law," said Ratcliffe. "But he damn sure should not be below the law which is where Volume II of this report puts him." (Read more Director of National Intelligence stories.)

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