Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Doug Collins rebuffs Trump's consideration for DNI

Photo: Patrick Semansky/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Air Force One Thursday night that he was considering nominating Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) to be his next director of national intelligence, but Collins rebuffed that offer during an appearance on Fox Business' "Mornings with Maria" on Friday.

The state of play: Trump previously hinted he would intervene in the Senate race between Collins and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). The heated primary race between Collins and Loeffler has raised concerns among Republicans that Democrats could potentially win the special election for the Senate seat, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

  • The primary challenge from Collins, a top defender of Trump, has "sparked an intraparty Republican brawl."
  • Wealthy business executive Loeffler was appointed to the Senate by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp over Trump's objections when former Sen. Johnny Isakson retired.

Watch the video:

What he's saying: Collins said the position "is not a job of interest to me at this time. It's not one that I would accept, because I'm running a Senate race down here in Georgia."

The big picture: Trump is currently facing blowback for his appointment of Ric Grenell, a Trump loyalist and the ambassador to Germany, as acting DNI — despite the fact that he has never held a national security position in the past.

  • James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI from 2010 to 2017, told Axios' Dave Lawler that it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."
  • "I spent my life in intelligence, and found the DNI job the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. I can't imagine taking it on, and learning the ABC's of intelligence on an on-the-job basis," he added.

Worth noting, via Axios' Alayna Treene: Trump did not discuss nominating Collins for the DNI position before telling reporters Thursday night, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Go deeper: Rep. Doug Collins confirms Georgia Senate run, triggering GOP battle

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Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Trump again nominates Rep. John Ratcliffe for intelligence chief

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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump misrepresents 2020 Russia briefing as Democratic "misinformation"

Photo: Mazza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

President Trump said in a Friday tweet that a briefing by a top election-security official before the House Intelligence Committee last week on Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2020 election was a "misinformation campaign ... launched by Democrats in Congress."

Why it matters: Trump, who was reportedly infuriated by the event, has made moves in recent days to ensure that administration jobs are held by those loyal to him — notably at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which led the briefing despite Trump's assertion that it was headed by congressional Democrats.