Once confirmed, the Director of National Intelligence serves as the principal adviser to the president on matters of national security and is responsible for overseeing the U.S. intelligence community.
Announcing Ratcliffe’s nomination via Twitter, the president wrote, “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.”
Ratcliffe, a 53-year-old former U.S. Attorney, has been a strong supporter of President Trump in the past. He has served in Congress since 2014 after he ousted longtime incumbent Ralph Hall in the Republican primary. That race was notable in that it was the first time in two decades that a sitting Texas congressman lost a primary challenge.
In 2004, Ratcliffe was appointed to oversee anti-terrorism and national security efforts for the Eastern District of Texas by the U.S. Department of Justice. Three years later, he became the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas under former President George W. Bush.
As a U.S. Attorney, Ratcliffe was one of the federal prosecutors involved in the Holy Land Foundation case, in which five individuals were convicted of terrorism financing and funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. He also oversaw Operation Plymouth Rock, which led to the arrest and prosecution of over 300 illegal aliens for identity fraud.
He also served as the mayor of Heath, a small city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
Ratcliffe has gained public attention for the prominent role he has played in Congressional hearings involving the Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice, Robert Mueller.
Before his recent nomination, Ratcliffe was also a top consideration to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General following Sessions’ resignation in November.
On Twitter, President Trump continued with the announcement by saying that Ratcliffe “will lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves” before thanking Coats for “his great service to our country.”
During his two year stint as DNI, Coats often appeared to have a contentious relationship with the president, in which the two publicly disagreed about national security matters related to North Korea, Iran, and ISIS’s presence in the Middle East. Coats also told prosecutors that he was urged by the president to deny any links between Russia and President Trump’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
The 4th Congressional District covers the northeast portion of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is heavily Republican.
Ratcliffe won reelection in 2018 by over 50 percent. He currently serves on the House Intelligence Committee, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the House Judiciary Committee.
Following Ratcliffe’s nomination and appointment, his approval will be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
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Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.