President Donald Trump announced that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is leaving the administration and will be replaced by a Trump-supporting congressman with no intelligence experience.
Trump tweeted Sunday that Coats will depart in August. The New York Times reported that Coats’ departure comes after he discovered the White House suppressed his warnings about Russia in a secret report about election interference in the 2018 midterms.
Coats “angered” Trump by providing “unwelcome assessments of Russia,” The Times reported. “Coats saw Russia as an adversary and pushed for closer cooperation with American allies in Europe. Time after time, the White House sought to weaken Mr. Coats’s language regarding the Kremlin.”
A secret report authored by Coats on the 2018 midterms included a “harsh assessment about Russia’s efforts to influence the American public by stoking conspiracy theories and polarization,” according to The Times, but the public statement, which was edited by the White House, contained very little of Coats’ tough words.
Trump wants to replace Coats with sycophant:
Trump announced that his nominee to replace Coats is Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, who has no intelligence background.
Ratcliffe, who has pushed Trump’s conspiracy theory that it was actually Hillary Clinton’s campaign that colluded with Russia, was appointed days after he criticized Mueller during a House hearing last week.
Ratcliffe claimed that Mueller had no right to write in his report that he did not “exonerate” Trump, arguing that the report “was written in violation of every DOJ principle about extra-prosecutorial commentary."
“I very much agree with your determination that Russia’s efforts were sweeping and systematic,” Ratcliffe told Mueller. “I think it should concern every American. That’s why I want to know just how sweeping and systematic those efforts were. I want to find out if Russia interfered with our election by providing false information through sources to Christopher Steele about a Trump conspiracy that you determined didn’t exist.”
Ratcliffe has no intelligence experience:
Aside from pushing Trump talking points on the House floor, Ratcliffe brings no experience in national intelligence to a position for which the law requires “extensive national security expertise.”
“The ability to tell truth to power was the traditional qualification for the director of national intelligence,” former DNI Dennis Blair told The Times. “More recently, sucking up to power seems to be what is expected.”
Democrats warned that the selection was a “big mistake.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said that Ratcliffe was obviously “selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning” of Mueller.
Maine Sen. Angus King warned that the pick could have dire consequences.
“We have gotten in trouble in this country in the past when we have cherry-picked intelligence for political purposes or to suit the needs of the president,” he said. “That is the worst thing that can happen.”