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Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images

President Trump is seriously considering appointing acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell to chair the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB), according to two sources familiar with discussions.

Between the lines: The role does not require Senate confirmation, and advisors that sit on the panel are permitted to do private sector work.

Context: The precursor to PIAB was established by President Eisenhower in 1956 after he concluded that he needed an outside panel of advisers to give him "unfettered and candid appraisals of U.S. intelligence activities," according to the White House website.

The big picture: The tentative plan would be that as soon as President Trump's nominee for director of national intelligence Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) is confirmed by the Senate — which could happen as soon as next week — Grenell would take over as chair of PIAB from billionaire investor Steve Feinberg.

  • Feinberg, who is CEO of Cerberus Capital Management and maintains extensive financial interests, would then move over to a senior role at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that does not require Senate confirmation, as Axios has previously reported.

Why it matters: Grenell has increasingly earned Trump's favor during his short tenure overseeing the U.S. intelligence community, which the president has long viewed with suspicion.

  • Grenell last week declassified a list of Obama administration officials who asked to "unmask" the identity of former national security adviser Michael Flynn when he was under government surveillance.
  • On Wednesday, two Republican senators released the list of names that Grenell had declassified. Trump has told people he’s glad that he’s finally got somebody in charge of intelligence who is doing what he has long wanted done.
  • Grenell has been a lightning rod for criticism and has been cheered on by the president’s political allies, including conservative media figures like Sean Hannity.

An ODNI spokeswoman declined to comment. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

Hillary Clinton rips GOP senators: They seem like they've had a "lobotomy"

Hillary Clinton criticized her former Republican colleagues for their responses to the explosive findings in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on 2016 Russian interference, accusing them of giving up "their principles, their values, their backbone" to follow President Trump.

Why it matters: The fifth and final volume of the committee's report released this week went further than the Mueller report in showing the extent of Russia's connections to members of the Trump campaign. But the reactions to the findings were starkly divided along partisan lines, with Republicans claiming that the report puts an end to any claims of Trump campaign "collusion" with Russia in 2016.

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.