Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) is no longer going to be President Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of national intelligence, Trump tweeted on Friday.
….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
While in Congress, Ratcliffe peddled various conspiracy theories about deep state attempts to take down Trump, while spearheading the GOP’s strategy to defend Trump from the special counsel probe by ‘investigating the investigators.’
But as the week wore on since Trump’s announcement on Sunday that he intended to nominate him, reports regarding alleged misrepresentations in Ratcliffe’s record began to mount.
A former federal prosecutor in Texas’s rural eastern district, Ratcliffe headed the office’s anti-terrorism and national security unit before being named an interim U.S. Attorney. While in Congress, he claimed to have prosecuted a top terrorist financing case while there.
But reporters found no evidence that Ratcliffe had been involved in the terrorist financing case.
In another case, the Washington Post reported, Ratcliffe claimed to have rounded up 300 illegal immigrants in one day. That also did not occur.
The director of national intelligence oversees the country’s spy community, and prepares the president’s daily intel briefing.
Ratcliffe had been poised to replace outgoing DNI Dan Coats, who had a rocky at best relationship with Trump.
Coats and Trump clashed repeatedly. At one point, after Trump issued an executive order commanding the intelligence community to cooperate with Attorney General Bill Barr’s investigation of the Russia probe investigators, Coats issued a statement assuring the public that the intelligence community would “continue” to share “apolitical intelligence” with the rest of the government.
As scandal around Ratcliffe’s pending nomination brewed, the Trump administration has reportedly been reviewing whether it can nominate a successor to Coats outside the line of succession.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Trump has been trying to prevent Sue Gordon – Coats’ second-in-command – from taking his position. The Trump administration is reportedly seeking members of the office of the director of national intelligence who have worked there for longer than 90 days.
In a statement, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said he was “grateful that [Ratcliffe] will continue serving the people of Texas in the House.”
Saying that there is “no substitute for having a Senate-confirmed director,” Burr added that he remains “committed” to moving an “official nomination through regular order once it is submitted to the Senate.”
While Ratcliffe may be gone, things may not get better. Potential alternative nominees for DNI include Fred Fleitz, a Frank Gaffney associate and former CIA analyst known for his vitriolic anti-muslim views. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee and a top Trump attack dog in his own right, has also been floated.