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Trump walks back plan to nominate John Ratcliffe as DNI

In this image, Ratcliff sits with his hands steepled and listens during a testimony.
Ratcliffe listens during Robert Mueller's testimony on July 24, 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump announced that Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would not be nominated to become the next director of national intelligence in a pair of Friday tweets, saying it would expose him to "months of slander and libel."

"Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people. John has therefore decided to stay in Congress."

The state of play, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Ratcliffe withdrew himself, per sources familiar with the situation. He was watching coverage of his possible nomination pile up, and the White House was getting word that he would struggle to get enough Republicans to confirm him. Ratcliffe "thought better to pull out now than put family through confirmation only to come up shy," texted a source familiar with his thinking.

  • According to a third source familiar with the situation, Ratcliffe did not anticipate the intensity of the reaction to his name being floated.

The backdrop: Ratcliffe, who defended Trump and "downplayed the threat posed by Russia" at former special counsel Robert Mueller's July hearing, is not well-known by many Republican senators or trusted by Democrats, per Politico.

Go deeper: Trump says DNI nominee Ratcliffe will "rein in" intelligence agencies

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