Dan Coats, Trump's Director of National Intelligence, is being fired, and it looks like Donald Trump has already settled on his replacement, GOP loyalist Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas.
President Trump is expected to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, according to three sources familiar with the president's deliberations.
Behind the scenes: Trump was thrilled by Ratcliffe's admonishment of former special counsel Robert Mueller in last week's House Judiciary Committee hearing. "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, a former prosecutor, said to Mueller.
"I agree with Chairman Nadler this morning when he said Donald Trump is not above the law," Ratcliffe added. "But he damn sure should not be below the law which is where Volume II of this report puts him."
But while Ratcliffe's performance in the Mueller hearing helped his chances for the DNI appointment, it wasn't what put him on the president's radar. Advisers to Trump said the president was already seriously considering Ratcliffe to replace Coats. Trump had previously shortlisted Ratcliffe to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general before he ultimately chose William Barr.
The New York Times' Maggie Haberman was the first to report that Ratcliffe was in the mix to replace Coats as DNI. And CNN reported that Ratcliffe was under consideration for an unspecified job in the administration.
As with all of Trump's decisions, his advisers caution that the president could still change his mind at the last minute, but senior administration officials familiar with the president's deliberations say Ratcliffe is the favorite.
The big picture: Trump has been mulling replacing Coats since at least February, as Axios recently reported. The director of national intelligence serves as an overseer of the U.S. intelligence community and a close adviser to the president and National Security Council, producing each day's top-secret Presidential Daily Brief.
Ratcliffe is loyal to Trump, not the country or the Constitution. This is why he's getting the job.
Ratcliffe, who has served in Congress since 2015, argued during Mueller's hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that in the second volume of the report, Mueller offered "extra-prosecutorial analysis about crimes that weren't charged" and accused the former special counsel of breaking Justice Department regulations by doing so.
Ratcliffe has been under consideration for a job within the Trump administration, sources told CNN, including an intelligence or national security role. The congressman speaks with the President often, and Trump is a big fan of his, the sources said.
The congressman's name was floated last year as a possible replacement for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was eventually succeeded by William Barr.
Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor, has been critical of the way the Democrats on the committee have approached Mueller's investigation after it ended, arguing in April against the panel authoring a subpoenafor an underacted version of the report.
"Let Bob Mueller come, and let's ask Bob Mueller to come and whether or not he thinks the report he created should be disclosed without considerations of redactions for classified national security information, or without redactions for grand jury information or other information related to ongoing investigations," he said at the time.
Remember, Coats is being fired because he's not sufficiently loyal enough to the idea of protecting Dear Leader.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has installed a new czar to oversee election security efforts across the spy world, he announced on Friday.
A veteran agency leader, Shelby Pierson, has been appointed to serve as the first election threats executive within the intelligence community, or IC, Coats said.
"Election security is an enduring challenge and a top priority for the IC," said Coats.
"In order to build on our successful approach to the 2018 elections, the IC must properly align its resources to bring the strongest level of support to this critical issue. There is no one more qualified to serve as the very first election threats executive than Shelby Pierson, whose knowledge and experience make her the right person to lead this critical mission."
Pierson has served within the intelligence world for more than 20 years. She was "crisis manager" for election security for the 2018 election within the office of the DNI and also has served in top roles in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, according to one official biography.
Her appointment isn't the only change Coats announced on Friday. He also is directing other agencies within the extended family of spy services to appoint their own executives responsible for election security efforts.
"These agency leads will work with the [election threats executive] to help ensure IC efforts on election security are coordinated and prioritized across all IC elements," Coats said.
Let's be clear why Ratliffe is being hired: His first job is to fire or neutralize Shelby Pierson and put an end to the election security efforts in the intelligence community. Trump needs somebody willing to do that and take the slings and arrows for such an obvious political move that casts suspicion on the Trump regime.
Trump can't have increased security on election matters, especially coming from the intelligence community. Ratliffe's job will then be to clear the way for neutering our counterintelligence, just what Putin wants.