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.

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call — Fauci says he's "absolutely not" surprised Trump got coronavirus.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  4. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  5. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.

Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call

Photo: Stephen Lam/Getty Images

During a campaign call on Monday, President Trump slammed infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, calling him a "disaster," and that "people are tired of COVID," according to multiple reporters who listened to the call.

Driving the news: CBS's "60 Minutes" aired an interview Sunday night with the NIAID director, where he said he was "absolutely not" surprised Trump contracted COVID-19 after seeing him on TV in a crowded place with "almost nobody wearing a mask."