Trump pulls intelligence chief nominee, blames ‘LameStream Media’

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) questions former Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced that Rep. John Ratcliffe will not serve as the next director for national intelligence in a pair of tweets Friday.

Trump blamed the “LameStream Media” in part for the decision, saying that he “explained to John how miserable it would be for him,” if he carried through with his nomination of Ratcliffe to the post.

Ratcliffe, a Republican congressman for Texas’ 4th District, will remain in the House of Representatives and Trump will announce a new nominee soon, the president said.

Dan Coats, the former director of national intelligence, announced that he was stepping down late last month.

Republican Senators had voiced concerns to the White House about Ratcliffe’s nomination ahead of Trump’s move Friday, two White House officials and other sources familiar with the process told CNN. The sources said there were concerns Ratcliffe wasn’t suited to the role.

“The nomination was greeted with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. The Senators don’t know Congressman Ratcliffe, and none of them seemed eager to champion his nomination. The only positive from the administration’s standpoint was that the nomination got lost in the combination of the usual pre-August recess scramble and the Democratic presidential debates,” a Senate GOP aide said.

A short time after Trump’s announcement, Ratcliffe published his own series of tweets, saying he had been “humbled and honored” for the nomination and that he thought he would have served the office “with the objectivity, fairness and integrity” it deserved.

However, the lawmaker said he did “not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue.”

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