Donald Trump said on Friday that he nominated the ultra-loyalist Congressman from Texas as director of the national intelligence service – a movement he had dumped last August because of concerns that the Republican had no experience and had blown up his resume earlier.
He named him the man he wants to oversee from the 17 American espionage agencies that the President has repeatedly scorned in a tweet sent by Air Force One on his way to a meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.
Trump tweeted that Ratcliffe was “an excellent man” of great talent, and then claimed that the last time he dropped the nomination was because “John wanted to wait until after IG Report was finished.”
That was a clear reference to the Ministry of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the Russian investigation, which was actually published in early December.
Ratcliffe was a fiery defender of the president during the hearings at the end of last year.
Trump had made Rick Grenell, another ultra-loyalist who is his ambassador to Germany, last week after the incumbent actor DNI had pushed Joseph Maguire out.
He is back: John Ratcliffe is again nominated for the DNI position. The one-time personal injury lawyer and mayor of the town was recruited in August 2019 amid questions about whether his resume was true
In the position: Rick Grenell was directed by DIN Trump earlier this month when Joseph Maguire was suddenly deported before his term of office should end in March, apparently after one of his officials had informed the House Intelligence Committee about Russia’s election involvement plans
The president had claimed to consider “five or six names” when asked if he wanted to fill the position.
The director of the national intelligence service deals with a wide range of foreign affairs, including possible election interference by other countries, the nuclear tests of North Korea and the situation in Iran.
The director is responsible for Trump’s daily information briefing and has access to all information, including unprocessed source material, upon request.
Ratcliffe’s nomination last summer had crashed amid questions about whether the Senate would vote for him, with questions about his lack of experience added when he had to “clarify” that he had not prosecuted persons who are currently in prison for persecuting them for money to terrorist groups, “as he claimed on his website.
In fact, he had admitted the aftermath of a mistrial with allegations of terrorist financing, he admitted.
The first time Trump had said he chose Ratcliffe to curb American intelligence services he said he was “amok.”
Ratcliffe, a one-time personal injury lawyer, was the four-time mayor of Heath, Texas, and American attorney for the eastern Texas district from 2007 to 2008.
He was elected a congress in 2014 and joined the House Intelligence Committee in 2019.
He then turned out to be an avid advocate of Trump’s skepticism about the intelligence community and attacked the accusation process led by the committee by Democratic President Adam Schiff.
In August last year, the withdrawal of the nomination unfolded far when Trump was joking that he led the media to examine his nominations for him after considering Ratcliffe.
“We have a great checking process. You are a veterinarian for me, ”the president told South Lawn reporters before he left to spend the weekend at his golf club in Bedminister, N.J.
‘If I give a name, I give it to the press and you vet to me. You often do very well. Not always.’
He also defended the work of the White House after allegations that Ratcliffe was not suitable for the job.
“The checking process for the White House is very good. But you are part of the research, you know. I give a name to the press and they vet me. That way we save a lot of money, “he said.
The last time it went well: John Ratcliffe’s assistants had to ‘clarify’ his resume, attracting him as a candidate. Trump has in fact not announced a new nominee ‘soon’.
He admitted that Ratcliffe did not have much experience in the intelligence arena, but that he “would have picked it up very quickly.”
“He would have had very good support. He wasn’t like that in that world. I think he would have picked it up very quickly, “he said.
At the time, he claimed that he had a shortlist of three people he would choose from. In fact, he nominated no one and kept Maguire as acting DNI.
Maguire should have left in early March, but left early, apparently after one of his officials had informed Congress about Russian plans to get involved in the 2020 elections.
Ratcliffe was clearly lukewarm by Republican senators.
“I would rather not go into that until I have had the opportunity to meet him to discuss his background and qualifications,” Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said of him.
His fate seemed sealed when Ratcliffe’s counselors had to “clarify” the claims made by the congressman that he had won terrorist convictions as a federal prosecutor.
Ratcliffe said on his website that he had tried suspects accused of forwarding money to the Hamas terrorist group.
But assistants said the congressman had investigated side issues related to a first mistrial.
And intelligence officials had criticized the appointment in August.
“Ratcliffe comes to work with the least national security experience and the most partisan political experience of a former National Intelligence Director,” Michael Morell, a former acting CIA director who now organizes the “Intelligence Affairs” podcast, told the Associated Press.
The last real DNI was former Senator and ambassador of Indiana to Germany, Dan Coats, who repeatedly clashed with the president in his role and publicly expressed his belief that Russia was involved in the 2016 elections.
Coats was highly respected on Capitol Hill and with the intelligence community.