President Trump today abruptly dropped his plan to nominate Representative John Ratcliffe (R-TX) as the nation’s top intelligence official, following bipartisan questions about his qualifications and pushback over whether he had exaggerated his résumé.

Ratcliffe, an outspoken supporter of Trump, has come under intense scrutiny since the president declared Sunday on Twitter that the lawmaker was his pick to succeed Dan Coats, who is stepping down as director of national intelligence on Aug. 15.

The selection generated scant enthusiasm among senators of both parties who would have decided whether to confirm him.

Trump’s announcement that Ratcliffe would not be his nominee after all, also made on Twitter, spoke bitterly of the attention Ratcliffe’s claims about his experience as a federal prosecutor quickly received from the news media.

 

 

The announcement was another reversal for Trump and underscored recurring dysfunction in the White House vetting process that has plagued the administration.

Ratcliffe joined a long list of Trump appointees who have had to pull their names after the president announced his plans to put them in powerful posts, without a full picture of potentially disqualifying details.

The backtrack leaves Trump without any obvious candidate to fill one of the country’s most important national-security jobs, heightening scrutiny on what will happen with Sue Gordon, Coats’s No. 2.

Trump has already decided not to allow her to rise to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Coats steps down, according to people familiar with his plans.

The decision to circumvent Gordon, who has served as the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will probably upset Republicans and Democrats in the Senate who had expressed doubts about Ratcliffe.

Trump recently blocked Gordon from personally delivering an intelligence briefing after she arrived at the White House, according to a person familiar with the matter.

 

 

Attribution:The New York Times
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