Senate confirms Trump nominee John Ratcliffe to be top USA spy

The Senate backed Trump nominee Ratcliffe by 49 to 44 amid stiff opposition from Democrats

The Senate backed Trump nominee Ratcliffe by 49 to 44 amid stiff opposition from Democrats

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence on Thursday over Democratic objections, the second time President Donald Trump tapped him for the position.

That includes MI, whose Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has emerged as a target for President Donald Trump and conservatives opposed to continuing shutdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Maine's senators split their votes, as they did when the Senate Intelligence Committee advanced Ratcliffe's nomination to the full Senate on Tuesday. Sen.

His confirmation was welcomed by Republicans in the Senate, namely by Sen.

Ratcliffe sits on the House intelligence, judiciary and ethics committees.

Ratcliffe will take over the agency at a tumultuous time.

Trump, who has always been sceptical of the nation's intelligence community, has installed acting heads and removed and fired multiple intelligence officials.

The Texas Republican seemed unlikely to get the position when Trump in February announced plans to nominate him, as he had already been selected for the job a year ago and then withdrew after Republicans questioned his experience. But senators warmed to him as they grew concerned about upheaval in the intelligence community under Trump and wanted a permanent, confirmed director.

The post had been temporarily filled by acting director Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist who oversaw a shake-up in United States intelligence agencies that raised concerns on Capitol Hill. Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, has a thin intelligence background and is seen as a loyalist to Trump. Some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said an acting director shouldn't be engaging in reforming the intelligence apparatus.

The last Senate-confirmed intelligence director, former Indiana Sen.

Hockenheim ready to step in if Silverstone fails
COVID-19 has put Hockenheim very much back on the agenda, with a source telling the Daily Mail that "it is basically a matter of turning the key in the gates".

Trump's first DNI, former Republican Senator and USA ambassador to Germany Dan Coats, was confirmed by 85-12 in March 2017. They've raised concerns that Ratcliffe is ill-fit for the job, overly partisan and lacking necessary experience. Mark Warner, D-Va., said at Ratcliffe's confirmation hearing earlier this month.

He was asked whether he believed a Senate Intelligence Committee report saying the Russians tried to help Trump in the 2016 election, or a House Intelligence Committee report saying the Russians didn't try to assist Trump.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said last summer Ratcliffe had been selected because he had shown "blind loyalty" to Trump. "A unsafe combination", he said. Better to assess how that money is being spent, he said, before approving more.

In Congress, Ratcliffe was an outspoken supporter of Trump, and at times questioned the validity of the Russian Federation investigation. They noted that the National Governors Association, which is chaired by Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, has asked Congress to send another $500 billion to states.

"When Congress comes knocking, the Intelligence Community must answer", he continued.

Trump has also shown himself as eager to have intelligence agencies investigate matters that he hopes will support his political positions, with agencies now trying to determine whether the coronavirus pandemic emerged in a laboratory in China or from a market. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are leading similar investigative inquiries.

In the following weeks, Mr. Trump removed a small handful of top intelligence officials, including Michael Atkinson, former inspector general for the intelligence community. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under oath.

"No lawyer for Flynn has ever seen it or heard the recording", Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell, said in an email to The Associated Press.

"I want to remind him as I have reminded many heads of departments before: transparency brings accountability and the public's business ought to be public", Mr. Grassley said in a statement.

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