President Trump announced on Twitter Sunday that Dan Coats is stepping down as director of national intelligence on August 15, and will be replaced by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX). “I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence,” Trump tweeted. “A former U.S. Attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.” According to reports, the president has been at odds with Coats since he was first confirmed over his public statements on Vladimir Putin, as well as Trump’s repeated attacks on the U.S. intelligence community.
Ratcliffe has been a loyal Trump supporter, and proved to be a staunch defender of the president’s interests during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony last week. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and former prosecutor, Ratcliffe aggressively questioned Mueller during the highly-anticipated testimony. “The special counsel's job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him,” Ratcliffe said to Mueller.