Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, withdrew Friday as President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the director of national intelligence.
Trump’s nomination of Ratcliffe to replace National Intelligence Director Dan Coats came after Ratcliffe’s questioning of former special counsel Robert Mueller during a July 23 hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney from Texas, has faced questions about whether he padded his resume, The Washington Post reported. He reportedly overstated claims about securing convictions against high-profile terrorists, the newspaper reported.
“I was humbled and honored that the president put his trust in me to lead our nation’s intelligence operations and remain convinced that when confirmed, I would have done so with the objectivity, fairness, and integrity that our intelligence agencies need and deserve,” Ratcliffe said in a prepared statement.
“However, I do not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding my confirmation, however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue. The country we all love deserves that it be treated as an American issue,” he said.
Ratcliffe’s comments came shortly after Trump announced the withdrawal while asserting his nominee was treated “very unfairly” by the dominant news 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 wrote in a tweet. “John has therefore decided to stay in
Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of
Texas, and our Country.”
The Office of Director of National Intelligence was established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to better coordinate 17 intelligence agencies in sharing information and threat assessments—as a means to prevent another similar attack.
The role so far has been held by those with foreign policy experience. Coats, a former senator from Indiana, also has been a diplomat.
Ratcliffe reportedly gained only tepid support from Senate Republicans and strong opposition from Senate Democrats ahead of what would have been a confirmation fight.
The Texas congressman particularly fired up Democratic opposition after asserting in a Fox News interview: “What I do know as a former federal prosecutor is it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration.”
He was speaking of the Obama administration’s use of surveillance of Trump campaign officials in 2016.
Ratcliffe was first elected to Congress in 2014. He served as a U.S. attorney from 2007 to 2008, appointed by President George W. Bush. He was the mayor of Heath, Texas, from 2004 through 2012.
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