US intelligence chief to leave administration in August, Latest World News - The New Paper

US intelligence chief to leave administration in August

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON US intelligence chief Dan Coats will leave his position next month, President Donald Trump announced on Sunday, after a tenure in which he was regularly at odds with the President.

The departure of Mr Coats - who has, however, sought to avoid direct confrontation with Mr Trump during his time as Director of National Intelligence - is the latest high-profile exit from the President's turnover-plagued administration.

Mr Trump tweeted that Mr Coats will leave on Aug 15, saying he plans to nominate Representative John Ratcliffe of Texas, who serves on the House intelligence, judiciary and homeland security committees, to replace him.

"A former US Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves," Mr Trump wrote, also thanking Mr Coats "for his great service to our Country".

If Mr Ratcliffe's nomination is approved, Mr Trump will get an intelligence chief who is more in sync with his views.

In Congress, he has been a staunch defender of Mr Trump and has criticised two of the President's nemeses, former FBI chief James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Ratcliffe has also said he has "seen no evidence" that Russian election meddling helped bring Mr Trump to office, has backed the President's assertion that court-approved surveillance of his campaign amounted to spying, and has supported his hawkish policy on Iran.

The choice of Mr Ratcliffe was hailed by various Republicans - including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who tweeted that he "will bring strength and accountability in his new role" - but drew criticism from other quarters.

"Our Director of National Intelligence should be above partisan politics, speak truth to power, and resist Trump's abuses of authority. John Ratcliffe doesn't fit that bill," Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren tweeted. - AFP