Only a week after announcing Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) as his pick for the role of director of National Intelligence (DNI), President Donald Trump announced Friday that Ratcliffe is no longer under consideration for the position, The Washington Examiner reported.
In a tweet announcing Ratcliffe’s withdrawal, Trump blasted the media for treating the congressman “unfairly,” but said a new pick would be named soon.
….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
Ratcliffe caught Trump’s eye for his intense questioning of Robert Mueller during the special counsel’s congressional testimony on July 24. But the congressman soon came under scrutiny for political statements he made about the Mueller investigation.
After many media reports about Ratcliffe’s comments, Democrats and some Republicans began to say that he might be “too political” for the DNI position. The media also reported that Ratcliffe might have padded his resumé when talking about his qualifications for the senior Intelligence position.
According to The Hill, some alleged that Ratcliffe “misrepresented his role in an anti-terrorism case that he’s repeatedly cited among his credentials related to national security issues.”
Those who looked into the 2015 case said they couldn’t find any records linking Ratcliffe to the suit.
Later, similar reports surfaced questioning the congressman’s special appointment as the prosecutor in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation.
These accounts apparently led to uncertainty among Senate Republicans about the pick, and Trump began to see that he might not have the votes to confirm Ratcliffe if he did formally nominate the senator.
Another factor in the withdrawal may be a letter the White House received last week detailing Ratcliffe’s possible involvement in a whistleblowing case that may have benefitted one of the congressman’s major campaign donors, The Daily Beast reported.
While no clear allegations were made, the letter said that questions remained about Ratcliffe’s involvement in possible actions taken against a government cybersecurity employee. The letter also circulated among key Republicans and led to more questions about Ratcliffe’s fitness for the DNI position.
All in all, this pick did not seem like a good one for Trump. Better that he finds out now than during another set of contentious confirmation hearings.