WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, is stepping down and that he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R., Texas, to take over the role.
Trump said on Twitter that Coats would leave Aug. 15. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did a spokesman for Ratcliffe. Coats, a former GOP senator from Indiana, stepped into the role as Trump’s first director of national intelligence in March 2017.
A longtime critic of Russia, including as a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he has challenged the wisdom of Trump’s interest in improved relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Coats was especially critical of Russia’s move in 2014 to annex Crimea from Ukraine and of its efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, which he warned in 2018 were ongoing.
Coats’ term also has been marked by what U.S. officials see as more aggressive military and espionage efforts by China, tensions with Iran after the U.S. exited the 2015 nuclear pact, and a U.S. initiative aimed at eventual detente with North Korea.
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