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U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe To Replace Dan Coats As National Intelligence Director

Associated Press
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., questions former special counsel Robert Mueller as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on July 24.

President Donald Trump said he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Heath Republican, to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.

Axios broke the news, citing sources who said 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 said to Mueller during that hearing. He argued that Mueller went beyond his bounds by making clear the investigation didn't exonerate the president.

Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor first elected in 2014, was mayor of Heath before successfully challenging the late Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, then the dean of the Texas delegation. This isn’t the first time Ratcliffe has been said to be under consideration for a position in this administration. In November, he was on a short list of possible replacements for fired U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

He is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Axios was followed by several other outlets, including the New York Times, in reporting that Coats is expected to step down soon. Coats has spent his tenure in the administration at odds with the president. The president's followed that wave of reports.

Assuming Ratcliffe passes Senate confirmation, a special election will take place to succeed him in Congress. His 4th District stretches from the Dallas suburbs east to Texarkana. It is almost certain to stay in the Republican column.

Abby Livingston also contributed to this story.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Alana Rocha joined the Tribune staff as the multimedia reporter after working eight years in television and radio news. She's covered politics for stations in Florida, Kansas and most recently in Austin as YNN's lead political reporter. Her work at the cable news outlet took her around the country reporting from the presidential campaign trail. A native of Tampa, Florida, Alana received bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Florida.