Senate Democrats are objecting to President Donald Trump’s choice to become director of national intelligence on the grounds that the conservative Texas Republican Trump has chosen might see the world of intelligence the same way the president does.
Trump announced Sunday that he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace current DNI Dan Coats, who has announced his resignation and will leave office on Aug. 15.
Ratcliffe found a niche on the national political stage last week as he aggressively questioned former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during a congressional hearing.
“You wrote 180 pages about decisions that weren’t reached, about potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided,” Ratcliffe said, according to Fox News. “Respectfully, by doing that, you managed to violate every principle and the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors.”
“It was not the special counsel’s job to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or to exonerate him because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence,” he said.
Democrats attacked Trump for nominating Ratcliffe, claiming his choice was based solely on the Texas congressman’s performance during the hearing.
“It’s clear that Rep. Ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. “If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake.”
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut also referenced Ratcliffe’s grilling of Mueller, Politico reported.
“I don’t know this guy. I think he’s a television character that the president has watched on TV, and he wants to put somebody in this position who’s going to agree with his political take on intelligence,” Murphy said.
“I’ll certainly do my own evaluation, but it strikes me as a very inappropriate choice for the job in a moment when we are trying to lift intelligence out of the political soup,” he added.
The Connecticut senator called Ratcliffe “one of the president’s accomplices in trying to politicize intelligence.”
Fellow Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan also voiced reservations about Ratcliffe.
“I’m not sure he’s qualified for the job,” he said.
“The president doesn’t want people to challenge him, and when you think about an intelligence director, you want independent advice. You want to have the best available intelligence to make decisions that are based on facts and reality. That is not something our current president wants,” Peters continued.
I am deeply grateful to President Trump for the opportunity to lead our Nation’s intelligence community and work on behalf of all the public servants who are tirelessly devoted to defending the security and safety of the United States.
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) July 29, 2019
Ratcliffe has served in the House since 2015. Prior to his congressional service, he was a U.S. Attorney and the mayor of Heath, Texas.
On Sunday, during an appearance on the Fox News show “Sunday Morning Futures,” Ratcliffe said that he believes the Obama administration may have committed wrongdoing through the series of events that launched the Mueller probe in the first place.
“I’m not going to accuse any specific person of any specific crime,” Ratcliffe said. “I just want there to be a fair process to get there. What I do know, as a former federal prosecutor, is, it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration.”
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