GOP Rep. And Trump Defender During Impeachment May Be Next DNI

Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart speaks during his town hall meeting Friday, March 31, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Stewart says he knows that many of those attending his town hall in heavily Democratic Salt Lake City ... Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart speaks during his town hall meeting Friday, March 31, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Stewart says he knows that many of those attending his town hall in heavily Democratic Salt Lake City probably didn't vote for him, but the Republican congressman says he feels it's important to appear before his constituents. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) MORE LESS
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February 12, 2020 9:56 a.m.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), a member of the House Intel Committee who ardently defended President Donald Trump during the impeachment inquiry, is getting a serious look to be the next director of national intelligence.

According to the New York Times, acting DNI Joseph Maguire is reaching the end of his legal term in an acting capacity; he must step down by March 11.

Trump’s National Security Adviser, Robert O’Brien, is reportedly one of Stewart’s most vocal advocates for the job, and Stewart enjoys support from congressional Republicans.

However, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) was lukewarm towards Trump’s last outwardly partisan pick — Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) — and may push for a candidate who would enjoy bipartisan support, though Senate Republicans could get the confirmation done alone.

Ratcliffe is the last candidate Trump nominated for the role since the departure of Dan Coats, a move which ended in embarrassment when Ratcliffe withdrew after embellishing his resume. 

Trump always could just nominate Maguire to the role in a permanent capacity. However, Maguire’s participation in hammering out an agreement to provide the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress, an action which helped touch off the impeachment inquiry, may prove a stumbling block to his nomination.

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