Trump picks Ratcliffe as top intelligence chief, again

 

Trump, who announced the moved on Twitter on Friday, first nominated Ratcliffe, a fierce defender of the president, last year but withdrew the nomination amid questions about Ratcliffe’s lack of experience and possible resume embellishment.

The move comes as Trump faces increasing criticism among Democrats for firing a wave of White House employees from the US national security community, who were perceived as critical of him.

“I am pleased to announce the nomination of @RepRattcliffe (Congressman John Ratcliffe) to be Director National Intelligence,” Trump tweeted. “Would have completed the process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished.”

It was unclear to which report Trump was referring. Ratcliffe’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“John is an outstanding man of great talent,” Trump tweeted.

His announcement drew a lukewarm response from Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who said he looked forward to “receiving Congressman Ratcliffe’s official nomination and ushering it through the Senate’s regular order”.

Democrats objected, with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for swift bipartisan rejection of Ratcliffe as overseer of the 17 agencies comprising the US intelligence community.

“The last time this nomination was unsuccessfully put forward, serious bipartisan questions were raised about Rep. Ratcliffe’s background and qualifications,” Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. “It’s hard for me to see that anything new has happened to change that.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president was ignoring “many serious outstanding concerns” about Ratcliffe and that intelligence should never be guided by partisanship or politics.

“Unfortunately, Congressman Ratcliffe has shown an unacceptable embrace of conspiracy theories and a clear disrespect and distrust of our law enforcement and intelligence patriots that disqualify him from leading America’s intelligence community,” Pelosi said in a statement.

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