President Trump Withdraws Rep. Ratcliffe’s Name From Becoming US Top Spy, DNI Director

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On August 2, 2019, the republican President Donald Trump publicly announced he was giving up on trying to appoint his GOP lackey, US Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas to be the next US top spy, Office of the Department of National Intelligence as the current ODNI head, Dan Coats leaves this post around mid-August. It became apparent that there was little chance  Mr. Ratcliffe would survive the Senate nomination/ confirmation process, in light of the bipartisan skepticism about his qualifications and questions about the honesty of his résumé.

In addition, there’s certain language in the 2004 federal statute regarding succession when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was created, which is written more restrictively and in a way that strongly indicates that the US Congress did not intend for the Vacancies Reform Act to be the basis for filling the position of director.

According to the succession rules, the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Sue Gordon is supposed to replace the DNI Director Dan Coats when he steps down. But President Trump has let it be known that he wasn’t on board with Ms. Gordon becoming the US top spy. However, towards the end of the day, when he was being questioned by reporters, he did say she was under consideration.

See: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ resignation letter …

See: Surprise, Surprise: Trump Can’t Legally Replace DNI Director Dan Coats With His Lackey

See: Dear Hon. Dan Coats, DNI Director, Please Let Trump Fire You; Succession Rules Apply

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Here’s the rest of the story…

On 8/2/2019, Julian E. Barnes and Charlie Savage of the New York News penned the following report, “Trump Won’t Let No. 2 Spy Chief Take Over When Coats Leaves”


“Updated: President Trump on Friday abruptly dropped his plan to nominate Representative John Ratcliffe as the nation’s top intelligence official. Read the latest.”

“The White House is planning to block Sue Gordon, the nation’s No. 2 intelligence official, from rising to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Dan Coats steps down this month, according to people familiar with the Trump administration’s plans.”

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“The decision to circumvent Ms. Gordon, who has served as the principal deputy director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will probably upset Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. They have expressed doubts about Representative John Ratcliffe, Republican of Texas, who is President Trump’s choice to be the next Senate-confirmed leader of the agency.”

“Mr. Trump didn’t allow Ms. Gordon to personally deliver a recent intelligence briefing after she arrived at the White House, according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence, Amanda J. Schoch, said Ms. Gordon wasn’t blocked from attending any recent briefing, but she declined to comment about what happened inside the Oval Office.”

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“Opposition in the White House to letting her serve as acting director has raised the question of whether she will be ousted as part of a leadership shuffle at the intelligence director’s office that will be more to Mr. Trump’s liking.”

“A federal statute says that if the position of director of national intelligence becomes vacant, the deputy director — currently Ms. Gordon — shall serve as acting director.”

“But there appears to be a loophole: The law gives the White House much more flexibility in choosing who to appoint as the acting deputy if the No. 2 position is vacant, said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who specializes in national-security legal issues.”

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“Ms. Gordon will retire if told by the White House that Mr. Trump wants someone else in the deputy’s role who could then rise to fill the vacancy created when Mr. Coats departs, according to officials.”

“Ms. Gordon, who has served more than 30 years in intelligence posts at the C.I.A. and other agencies, has not been officially informed by the White House that Mr. Trump intends to name someone else to oversee the intelligence agency until the Senate confirms a new director of national intelligence, officials said.”

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“But the White House requested this week that the office provide a list of senior officials who worked for the agency, according to a senior administration official — a move that was interpreted as another sign that it is looking beyond her for people who could be temporarily installed in the top position.”

“When Mr. Trump posted tweets Sunday announcing that Mr. Coats would step down on Aug. 15 and that he intended to nominate Mr. Ratcliffe, the president hinted that Ms. Gordon might not automatically become the acting director in the interim, saying an acting director would be named soon.”


“Those tweets prompted concern on Capitol Hill that Mr. Trump would circumvent Ms. Gordon. The next day, Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressly referred to the fact that he looked forward to working with Ms. Gordon, calling her “a trusted partner.”

“On Friday, Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who’s the committee’s vice chairman, said that the law was “quite clear” that the acting role goes to the deputy when the director of national intelligence leaves and that Ms. Gordon had the Senate’s confidence. “It’s outrageous if the president is hoping to pass over this extremely qualified and experienced individual, the highest-ranking woman in O.D.N.I., in order to install a political loyalist as acting director,” he said.”

Link to entire report:  Trump Won’t Let No. 2 Spy Chief Take Over When Coats Leaves…


  1. Gronda, good post. There are two things at play and both need to be emphasized. The first is the president’s horrendous record of vetting people. This is largely due to his impatience, but it is also due to his poor management skills.

    Prior to the election, financial reporters who have covered Trump for years, noted his marketing skills, but also condemned his management skills. A Newsweek reporter said Trump does even less due diligence abroad than he does at home, which is not a lot. So, he ends up working with people who are poor characters at best. Vetting takes time and effort, neither of which are investments this president wishes to make.

    The other issue is he values loyalty and people saying good things about him over competence or experience. He did end up with a few competent directors, but most of them are now gone and many very good people were never considered because they either knew what Trump was like to work with or did not genuflect enough.

    He picked Radcliffe because he defended him at the Mueller hearing on TV. Before then, he most likely had no idea who Radcliffe was. Ironically, a picture of Radcliffe at the hearing is with him sitting next to Congressman Will Hurd. Hurd is a former CIA officer and, in my view, is the best of Republican legislators in Congress. Hurd just announced he is not running in 2020 and has been critical of the president on his border and racist rhetoric, so he won’t be considered.

    I saw the president said he would now name someone and let the press vet them. Mr. president, they are already, because you won’t take the time to do so. He says Radcliffe was treated unfairly, but this was bipartisan pushback. And, Mr. president, YOU put him in the crosshairs by not doing YOUR job. It is unfair to the candidate, to Congress and to the American people not to vet a candidate and run him or her by the approval committees BEFOREHAND.

    Trump has blamed everyone else like he tends to do, but the one who is most at fault. That person is the chaotic, impatient and reckless person that stares back at him when he shaves. He is the one most at fault. Until his Republican party leadership openly recognizes what they know and dicsuss privately, we will have more of Trump’s incompetent management.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Keith,

      I was saddened to learn that the TX GOP US Rep. Will Hurd has announced that he’ll not be running to be reelected as he represented what would have been considered to be the best of the old GOP. He is someone that most on both sides of the aisles in Congress would approve to be in a key post at the Department of National Intelligence. But he doesn’t have that prerequisite of absolute fealty to the president which automatically disqualifies him.

      President Trump does vetting according to his one priority, “is the nominee a yes, man who will follow the president’s directions without any reservations. The rest, he leaves up to the press to uncover.

      With the recent mass shootings by White Supremacist enthusiasts, the GOP Congressional members are going to learn that canned GOP talking points won’t provide adequate cover for all of their their blind support of the Racist-in-Chief who lives in the White House.

      Hugs, Gronda


      • Gronda, two mass shooting in 24 hours. These are terrible tragedies which should cause action to remedy. Yet, what is not talked about enough is we AVERAGE 100 gun deaths in America EVERY DAY. About 60% of these are suicide, which would be helped by extended waiting periods, background checks on all weapons, finger printed triggering, better weapon storage, and allowing doctors ask about guns at home. If someone has a concerns, a court order to take away a gun until a hearing should be in order. Then, there is all of the other reasons – lack of civil discourse, entertainment violence, drug related crime, mental health treatments, etc. Keith


  2. In a barefaced shameful audition to an audience of one, Radcliffe postured accusingly at Mueller but oops, the mark it hit was what it should have – integrity, of which he has none. When you lie on your resume, you have to expect to lose the interview. Luckily, as POTUS sarcastically inferred, the media does a better job of vetting which is both embarrassing and SAD.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Copy Chick,

      By now, most of us have figured out that anyone who auditions for a job in this administration will have integrity issues. That has become obvious with his recent nominations which include, William Barr as AG, Brett Kavanaugh as newest SCOTUS justice, and most recently, Rep. Radcliffe to head ODNI.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

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