NYT: Trump To Name Richard Grenell Acting DNI

Newly accredited US Ambassador Richard Allen Grenell gets in his car after an accreditation ceremony for new Ambassadors in Berlin, Germany, on May 08, 2018. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo credit should ... Newly accredited US Ambassador Richard Allen Grenell gets in his car after an accreditation ceremony for new Ambassadors in Berlin, Germany, on May 08, 2018. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 19, 2020 6:12 p.m.

President Trump intends to name Ambassador to Germany and right-wing political operative Richard Grenell to the position of acting Director of National Intelligence, the New York Times reports.

The job will give Grenell — a staunch Trump loyalist — an oversight role within the country’s intelligence community, after President Trump has spent years claiming to be the victim of the country’s intelligence services.

Grenell is a longtime GOP political operative and former aide to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) who made a habit of enraging the German government as ambassador in part due to his stated desire to “empower” the right in the country.

The move has yet to be officially announced. The Times wrote that Trump has “a history of changing his mind on personnel decisions after they were revealed in the news media.”

A former Bush administration communications official, Grenell has scant experience with the intelligence community.

He does, however, bring extensive experience in attempting to enact Trump’s foreign policy vision. Apart from his stated support for Germany’s right, Grenell has used his position as ambassador to attack Germany, a stalwart U.S. ally, for a range of issues ranging from insufficient NATO spending to insufficient hostility towards Iran.

The Trump loyalist will replace Joseph Maguire, the current acting DNI. Maguire took over from Dan Coats, who departed the position in July 2019.

Grenell had also been floated as a potential UN ambassador under Trump.

His career prior to being named ambassador ran from the absurd to the sinister.

Grenell, for instance, once called on Americans to stop describing the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman a “tragedy” in a 2014 Fox News appearance, saying “we could see this coming” and that the media should not “glamorize” Hoffman’s passing.

Grenell is also reportedly a text buddy of Don Jr., the President’s son. The Atlantic reported that Grenell is in a group chat with Don Jr., conservative activist Charlie Kirk, a Breitbart editor, and other GOP activists where they coordinate responses to damaging news stories about the President.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

Matt Shuham contributed to this article.

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