President Donald Trump has withdrawn Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) from consideration as Director of National Intelligence, citing media unfairness and Ratcliffe’s desire to stay in Congress, according to The Hill. Ratcliffe was accused by several in the media of being “too political” for the role and of padding his resume.
“Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people,” Trump tweeted.
Several key Republicans expressed doubts about Ratcliffe’s qualifications after the accusations. Ratcliffe had made public statements critical of the Mueller investigation that made some officials question whether he had the neutrality needed for the role.
Trump announced Ratcliffe was being considered for the role, but had not formally nominated him. A new pick will be announced soon, Trump said.
Ratcliffe’s Qualifications Questioned
News reports since Trump’s announcement of Ratcliffe for DNI accused the congressman of overstating parts of his resume about his work on terrorism cases as a federal prosecutor in Texas, leading to Republican and Democrat uncertainty about his nomination.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee for the party, said Thursday it would be “clearly disqualifying” if it were true that Ratcliffe padded his resume.
Ratcliffe said that he asked Trump to withdraw the nomination because he didn’t want the debate around his nomination “however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue.”
According to the Daily Beast, there could be a further reason for withdrawing Ratcliffe’s nomination, however.
According to reports, an email about Ratcliffe’s involvement in a whistleblower case got to the White House just before Trump’s decision to withdraw Ratcliffe. According to the email, Ratcliffe may have tried to effect a reprisal against a whistleblower related to his campaign.
The letter stated that a non-profit that donated heavily to his campaign shut down a government cybersecurity office. It wasn’t clear how Ratcliffe was involved, but questions surrounding the incident remained.
Once the letter was circulated among Republicans, Ratcliffe lost enough support to cause Trump to withdraw him, with Ratcliffe’s cooperation and consent. Ratcliffe will remain in the Senate.
It looks like Trump might have dodged a bullet on this one.