President Donald Trump late Friday announced Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to be the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
“I am pleased to announce the nomination of @RepRatcliffe (Congressman John Ratcliffe) to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI),” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Would have completed process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG [Inspector General] report was finished.”
“John is an outstanding man of great talent!” Trump added.
I am pleased to announce the nomination of @RepRatcliffe (Congressman John Ratcliffe) to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Would have completed process earlier, but John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished. John is an outstanding man of great talent!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2020
The post of DNI, created after Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, oversees the 17 U.S. civilian and military intelligence agencies, including the CIA.
The announcement comes just 10 days after Trump said that Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, will be the acting DNI to replace Joseph Macguire.
The Senate must confirm the nomination for the permanent DNI role. If confirmed, it would be the first time DNI role is filled since former DNI Dan Coats’ resignation took effect on Aug. 15, 2019.
Trump said the media’s unfair treatment of Ratcliffe led to the withdrawal.
“Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media,” Trump said on Twitter in August 2019. “Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people.”
“John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country,” Trump said in a subsequent post.
Ratcliffe has been in Congress since 2015 and currently serves on both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, as well as the Ethics Committee. He was involved in the questioning of witnesses during the Mueller as well as the House impeachment investigations.
Before serving in Congress, Ratcliffe was the mayor for Heath, Texas, a U.S. attorney, and a federal terrorism prosecutor, according to his official biography.
The “IG report” in Trump’s Twitter post refers to a 500-page report (pdf) by Inspector General Michael Horowitz released in December 2019.
Horowitz was investigating the counterintelligence investigation into Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, including the alleged misconduct regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants delivered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
In 2016, the Department of Justice and FBI got warrants in 2016 to monitor Carter Page, a Trump adviser, but it’s not clear if others were monitored.
Just days leading up to the report’s release, Ratcliffe said he believed the report “is going to find that there were problems in the FISA application process and they don’t want that to come out until after they impeach the president.” He also said that the impeachment inquiry taking place at the time was an attempt to counter-signal against the potential release of the IG report.
Horowitz confirmed in the report that the FBI relied on information paid for by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to obtain a FISA warrant on Page.
Jack Phillips and Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.