Trump nominates John Ratcliffe to be intel chief

Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 09: Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) questions Intelligence Committee Minority Counsel Stephen Castor and Intelligence Committee Majority Counsel Daniel Goldman during the House impeachment inquiry hearings in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. The hearing is being held for the Judiciary Committee to formally receive evidence in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, whom Democrats say held back military aid for Ukraine while demanding they investigate his political rivals. The White House declared it would not participate in the hearing. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

In what amounts to a dare to a direct challenge to Senate Republicans, President Trump announced that his pick to head the intelligence community is the same Republican congressman whose previous bid for that job collapsed amid revelations that he misrepresented his background.

Trump said in a tweet that he was nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas to be the director of national intelligence, calling the former federal prosecutor "an outstanding man of great talent."

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Trump previously put forward Ratcliffe for the post last year, but abruptly withdraw the nomination after Senate Republicans began to balk. Among the factors was Ratcliffe's boast on his website that he "put terrorists in prison when, as NBC News reported at the time, there is no evidence he ever prosecuted a terrorism case.

Ratcliffe, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was among the most strident voices attacking the Russia investigation and advancing questionable notions, including asserting that "crimes were committed during the Obama administration" in investigating Russian election interference.

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