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Citing “slander and libel” by the “lamestream media” targeting Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), US President Donald Trump says he will appoint someone else to head the Office of Director of National Intelligence.
Ratcliffe is being treated “very unfairly” by the media, Trump tweeted on Friday. The Texas congressman agreed to stay in the House of Representatives after Trump explained how “miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people” for months, according to the president.
“I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue. The country we all love deserves that it be treated as an American issue,” Ratcliffe tweeted on Friday.
Trump said he intends to nominate someone else to the DNI post “shortly.”
The announcement comes several hours after former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tweeted in support of Sue Gordon, the current acting DNI and CIA veteran, calling her a “proven patriot who understands foreign threats, respects the nonpartisan truth, and protects America 24/7.”
Rosenstein supervised the two-year ‘Russiagate’ investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, and left the Department of Justice last fall when Trump appointed William Barr as AG. He signed at least one of the FISA warrants allowing the FBI to spy on Trump’s campaign adviser Carter Page, a controversy that is now being investigated by the DOJ.
Ratcliffe’s nomination rattled the mainstream media outlets and Democrats precisely because the Texas congressman has been one of the most vocal critics of the Mueller probe, and one of the few who actually had access to the classified FISA documents.
His appointment was rumored to be part of a broader “housecleaning” of US intelligence agencies. While the FBI is under investigation for some of its high-ranking officials’ problematic behavior during the 2016 election, former CIA Director John Brennan and former DNI James Clapper have found a new home as cable news pundits, outspoken critics of Trump and tireless promoters of the “Russiagate” conspiracy theory.