Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, President Donald Trump’s first choice to lead the nation’s intelligence network, withdrew from consideration last week, leaving the White House with no clear option going forward, CNN reports.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats plans to step down soon, but Trump has yet to decide on his successor, with former NSA director Mike Rogers former Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, and U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra in contention, according to a CNN source.
Multiple sources told CNN that there is no clear frontrunner for the post at this time, and that a large number of candidates are being considered. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is highly involved, and national security adviser John Bolton has been offering his feedback, as has Vice President Mike Pence.
CNN also reported that the White House was looking for someone other than Coats’ second-in-command, Sue Gordon, to replace him as acting director, but sources say now that the White House is more willing to appoint her following Ratcliffe’s withdrawal.
"There is a Director of National Intelligence who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Any individual nominated for appointment as Director of National Intelligence shall have extensive national security expertise," the DNI legal statute reads.
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