Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, will leave his job next month, President Donald Trump announced, after a turbulent two years in which he and Coats were often at odds over Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump named a GOP congressman and fierce loyalist to replace him.
Trump announced Coats’ departure as Aug. 15 in a tweet Sunday that thanked Coats for his service. He said he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to the post and that he will soon name an acting official. Ratcliffe is a frequent Trump defender who fiercely questioned former special counsel Robert Mueller during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.
Coats often appeared out of step with Trump and disclosed to prosecutors how he was urged by the Republican president to publicly deny any link between Russia and the Trump campaign. The frayed relationship reflected broader divisions between the president and the government’s intelligence agencies.
Coats’ public, and sometimes personal, disagreements with Trump over policy and intelligence included Russian election interference and North Korean nuclear capabilities. Trump had long been skeptical of the nation’s intelligence agencies, which provoked his ire by concluding that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of getting him elected.