President Donald Trump acknowledged Friday that former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., was a candidate to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence but said he was working with the Senate to select a candidate that "everybody can really come together with."
"I like Pete a lot," Trump told reporters outside the White House before leaving to attend fundraisers for his re-election campaign. "He's great and is doing a fantastic job in the Netherlands right now."
Hoekstra, 65, has been U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands since January 2018. He served in the House from 1993 to 2011, and was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 2004 to 2007.
Trump also is considering Fred Fleitz, 57, for the position. Fleitz is a career intelligence official, having served the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee.
He also served as chief of staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton and is currently president of the Center for Security Policy.
Coats is stepping down as DNI later this month — and his deputy, Sue Gordon, is leaving with him.
Trump on Thursday named Joseph Maguire, a retired Navy vice admiral, as acting director after his original choice, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, withdrew after media scrutiny over his background and qualifications.
"Maguire is an excellent admiral, highly respected, great leader," Trump told reporters. "Sue did a great job. I like Sue Gordon very much."
However, Trump said he was working with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., to find a consensus candidate.
"I'm working together with Sen. Burr and the whole committee," the president said. "I want to get somebody that everybody can really come together with."
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