Nonetheless, the incident was used to highlight a lack of coordination between the White House and the intelligence community with Coats often being the bearer of bad news. President Trump was vocal about his disagreements with Coats, reportedly telling him behind the scenes to stay quiet about threats of Russian meddling and even calling him out publicly in certain settings.
“Can you give me an example, other than Donald Trump, where the Justice Department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? …You can’t find it because, I’ll tell you why, it doesn’t exist.”
On Sunday, President Trump announced Republican Representative John Ratcliffe will take over as Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Ratcliffe has long been considered to be a Trump ally, but apparently made an impression during his interrogation of Robert Mueller. He had this to say during the hearing:
The latest change at the DNI could be a sign that the president is looking to downsize the department altogether in order to concentrate on information sharing efforts. Coats is expected to leave the department on Thursday, August 15th with the president saying an active director will be named in the near future.
There’s another shake-up in the Trump administration, with the latest move likely having a trickle-effect throughout the rest of the government.
The Texas congressman was already a rising star in the Republican Party after winning his election with more than 70-percent of the vote in the 2018 midterms. Ratcliffe was facing off against other high profile officials for the job, including chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford. He also challenged Fred Fleitz, the former Chief of Staff for National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., asks questions to former special counsel Robert Mueller, as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Ratcliffe will now be elevated to a post where the current official, Dan Coats, has often been at odds with the president and his administration. Perhaps the most memorable event during his tenure was his response after learning President Trump invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House. When asked about the invitation he laughed and acted as if it were a joke. Coats later said he meant no disrespect to the White House and admitted the exchange was somewhat awkward.
A pair of conservative columnists say Democrats have still not been held accountable for their antics during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
In a recent radio interview with Breitbart, senior editor for The Federalist — Mollie Hemingway — put Democrat senators on blast for “willfully abandoning” Senate procedures to attack Kavanaugh. She singled out Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Corey Booker, saying they unfairly lobbed unsubstantiated accusations at the now Supreme Court justice and were never penalized for it.
Hemingway said not punishing politicians for slander during the confirmation hearing has allowed lasting damage to be done to Kavanaugh’s reputation:
“Damaging someone’s reputation is a real harm. We think of crime as being about actual acts of physical violence, but damage to a reputation causes real harm and it needs to be taken seriously, so that these things don’t happen again. Part of it is just about people being aware of what the left does with confirmation battles, but there also needs to be accountability.”
In a separate interview, her counterpart and chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network — Carrie Sevarino — doubled down on that stance. She said Democrats willingly peddled misinformation and false allegations to obstruct Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Hemingway and Sevarino said the conduct of Democrats during the hearing is another example of how the party has fallen prey to the “politics of personal destruction.” The duo are currently on tour promoting their book “Justice on Trial,” which chronicles Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process.