Trump Drops Plans to Nominate John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence – The New York Times

The announcement was another reversal for the president and underscored recurring dysfunction in the White House vetting process that has plagued the administration. Mr. Ratcliffe joined a long list of Trump appointees who have had to pull their names after the president announced his plans to put them in powerful posts, without a full picture of potentially disqualifying details.

The backtrack leaves Mr. Trump without any obvious candidate to fill one of the country’s most important national-security jobs, heightening scrutiny on what will happen with Sue Gordon, Mr. Coats’s No. 2. Mr. Trump has already decided not to allow her to rise to the role of acting director of national intelligence when Mr. Coats steps down, according to people familiar with his plans.

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 who had expressed doubts about Mr. Ratcliffe.

Mr. Trump recently blocked Ms. Gordon from personally delivering an 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 was not blocked from attending any recent briefing, but she declined to comment about what happened inside the Oval Office.

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