Members of the intelligence community are concerned that President Trump is trying to politicize their agencies with the Republican lawmaker he’s chosen to replace Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, The Washington Post reported.
Current intelligence community officials told the Post that they’re wary that Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), the firebrand “investigate the investigators” lawmaker whom Trump has tapped to replace Coats, won’t be willing or able to offer Trump “unvarnished” assessments of their agencies’ work, in the Post’s words.
Trump’s been irked by his own intelligence community since becoming president, repeatedly rejecting the community’s assessment of everything from Russian meddling efforts to their findings in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump reportedly believes that embracing Russian election meddling findings will discredit his historic election, and he’s often butted heads with Coats, who did not hesitate to break with Trump in his warnings about Russia’s ongoing meddling campaign.
Ratcliffe, on the other hand, has bear hugged some of Trump’s most unsubstantiated claims about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — that the team was made up of lawyers tied to the Clinton Foundation and that the Obama administration committed crimes in its launch of the Russia probe.
Despite holding some of Trump’s most inane beliefs about the probe, Ratcliffe might face a difficult confirmation. According to Politico, some of the most senior Senate Republicans on the Intelligence Committee have no clue who he is.