In the ever-changing world of the executive branch of the government under President Donald Trump, rumors began to surface last week that Office of Director of National Intelligence head Dan Coats was on his way out. On Sunday, via Twitter announcement (does President Trump announce important moves any other way?), the leader of the free world made it official.
Dan Coats resigned. Whether or not it was his choice was not immediately clear, but his last day in office will be August 15.
However, in the same Twitter thread, President Trump announced that member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas will be his nominee for the post meaning his ascension to that position leaves Texas Governor Abbott free to appoint a Republican to that seat. Pundits across the board opined that this was due to Ratcliffe’s questioning of former FBI Director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller at the unfortunately disastrous hearings last week – even from to people at Fox News.
Ratcliffe’s name was in play to become the next DNI before last week. But his stock soared with Trump Wednesday when former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified about his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and obstruction of justice allegations against Trump.
Ratcliffe acted like a Trump defense attorney at the hearings when he sharply questioned Mueller.
As a former federal prosecutor, Ratcliffe could not stand the way the Mueller report said Trump was not exonerated. Ratcliffe pounded Mueller for violating “the most sacred of traditions,” where prosecutors do not speculate on potential crimes when they file no charges.
Even on a day filled with rhetoric, Ratcliffe’s tight-packed emotion stood out. “The bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone,” Ratcliffe said, “including sitting presidents.”
Ratcliffe went on to say that “Donald Trump is not above the law. He’s not. But he damn sure shouldn’t be below the law, which is where this report puts him.”
The congressman sounded like Patrick Henry going after King George III.
The hyperbole on this nomination is most definitely over the top. The hearings for Ratcliffe’s confirmation should be highly entertaining indeed.