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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

Go deeper

Southwest heat wave intensifies, breaks records and worsens drought

A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

Updated 31 mins ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," but blames U.S. for tensions

Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference following the meetings, according to a translator.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Live updates: Putin concludes press conference, Biden up next

President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for less than four hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: At a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, Putin called the talks "very constructive' and announced that the U.S. and Russia's respective ambassadors would return to their posts.