Ratcliffe at CPAC on Feb. 27. Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Trump again nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), in a tweet on Friday.

Catch up quick: If confirmed, Ratcliffe would eventually replace Richard Grenell, a staunch defender of Trump and former U.S. ambassador to Germany who was installed as the acting DNI only a few weeks ago. Grenell would have had to leave the post on March 11 unless Trump formally nominated someone else to oversee the U.S. intelligence community, the New York Times reports.

  • Ratcliffe's nomination will allow Grenell to remain as acting intelligence chief as it winds its way through Senate confirmation.

Flashback: Trump had previously nominated Ratcliffe in July, but Ratcliffe withdrew his name in August as senior congressional Republicans "deemed him unqualified for the job," per the Times. Democrats and Republicans alike questioned his lack of intelligence experience.

  • Trump reconsidered the nomination in August, saying it would expose Ratcliffe to "months of slander and libel."

The big picture: Ratcliffe's second nomination comes amid the administration's broader effort to identify "disloyal government officials" and replace them with "trusted pro-Trump people," more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

The other side:

“Intelligence should never be guided by partisanship or politics.  Unfortunately, Congressman Ratcliffe has shown an unacceptable embrace of conspiracy theories and a clear disrespect and distrust of our law enforcement and intelligence patriots that disqualify him from leading America’s intelligence community.
Last summer, this nomination was withdrawn after revelations about Congressman Ratcliffe’s clear lack of qualifications and many misleading statements about his resume. The President is now ignoring these many serious outstanding concerns and letting politics, not patriotism, guide our national security."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement on Friday

Go deeper: Trump to install loyalist Ric Grenell as acting intelligence chief

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Coronavirus cases rise in 25 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

New coronavirus infections rose over the past week in half the country.

Why it matters: The U.S. remains largely unable or unwilling to control the spread of the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,976,447 — Total deaths: 1,014,266 — Total recoveries: 23,644,023Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,233,945 — Total deaths: 206,959 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump signs stopgap bill to prevent government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding after funding expired briefly, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Why it matters: The move averts a government shutdown before the Nov. 3 election. The Senate on Wednesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.