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Trump's Intelligence Pick Has Rocky Path to Confirmation

Critics say Rep. John Ratcliffe isn't qualified to replace Dan Coats
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2019 1:32 PM CDT
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., questions former special counsel Robert Mueller Wednesday, July 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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(Newser) – Rep. John Ratcliffe got perhaps the biggest national exposure of his political career when he grilled Robert Mueller last week with a line of questioning that displayed his staunch support of President Trump. After the Mueller hearings, Ratcliffe got even more exposure when Trump announced that the Texas Republican was his pick to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence. The gist of coverage since then strongly suggests that Ratcliffe, 53, should not expect an easy confirmation. Details:

  • The criticism: In a story sussing this out, the Washington Post has this as its second paragraph: "Current and former intelligence officials also said Ratcliffe is the least-qualified person ever nominated to oversee the country’s intelligence agencies and questioned whether he would use the position to serve Trump’s political interests." The story cites an op-ed by former defense officials Mike Vickers and Michael Morrell to that effect. They say he "would come to the job with by far the least experience in foreign policy and intelligence of any DNI in two decades."
  • Firing back: Ratcliffe served as a US attorney in the Eastern District of Texas before his election to Congress in 2014, and his office asserts this: “Department of Justice records will confirm that as both Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas from 2004-2008, John Ratcliffe opened, managed and supervised numerous domestic and international terrorism related cases."

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