Washington – The United States Senate Intelligence Commission approved on Tuesday the nomination of Republican legislator John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence and sends it to the full House for confirmation.
Ratfliffe’s nomination was approved 8-7 at a closed-door hearing, with senators voting on deals with partisan lines, an assistant to the panel said. The assistant spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made. All Democrats voted against.
Republicans have praised Ratcliffe, a fervent advocate of President Donald Trump, while Democrats have expressed skepticism that he can serve with the independence necessary for the job. Ratcliffe tried to shed his reputation as a Trump supporter at his confirmation hearing, insisting that he would lead the country’s intelligence agencies without partisan influence.RELATED
Ratcliffe would replace Dan Coats, a former Republican senator who was popular in Congress but collided with Trump in his two years in office. Richard Grenell, close to Trump, occupies the position on an interim basis.
Trump, who has always viewed the intelligence community with skepticism, has twice nominated Ratcliffe. It was first last summer, after Coats’ resignation, but withdrew after several Republican senators questioned his experience.
Republican senators were more receptive to Ratcliffe after Trump nominated him again in February. The months between the two nominations were a turbulent period in the intelligence community, with Trump firing numerous officials and senators eager to replace Coats.
Tuesday’s hearing was the first for the new chairman of the Intelligence Commission, Republican Marco Rubio. Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell temporarily appointed Rubio to head the panel after Senator Richard Burr resigned amid an FBI probe of the sale of shares.