Donald Trump′s intelligence chief Dan Coats resigns | News | DW | 29.07.2019
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Donald Trump's intelligence chief Dan Coats resigns

Dan Coats, who was tasked with overseeing the 17 US intelligence agencies, will leave his post. Coats' two-year tenure was marked by disagreements with President Trump on Russia and North Korea.

The US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Dan Coats, announced on Sunday that he would be leaving his post. It was the latest high-ranking resignation in Donald Trump's team and his departure comes just two weeks after Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned from his post.

Trump announced Coats' resignation and thanked him for his service, saying the departure would be effective August 15. The US president will nominate John Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican member of the House of Representatives.

"John will lead and inspire greatness for the country he loves," Trump said.

A former Republican senator from Indiana, Coats was appointed director of National Intelligence in March 2017. He was the fifth person to hold the post, which was created after the September 11, 2001 attacks to oversee and coordinate the country's 17 intelligence agencies.

In his two-year tenure, Coats clashed with Trump, as the DNI director took a harder line toward Russia that sharply contrasted with the president's conciliatory approach.

The two also clashed on North Korea. Coats told Congress in January that the hermit nation was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, contradicting Trump' statement Pyongyang no longer posed a threat.

By contrast, Ratcliffe is seen as a Trump ally. The Texas Republican has questioned the legitimacy of the Mueller report into Russian election interference and urged investigation into potential wrongdoing during the Obama administration.

House Representative John Ratcliffe has been critical of Robert Mueller's Russia probe

House Representative John Ratcliffe has been critical of Robert Mueller's Russia probe

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, criticized Trump's replacement for Coats.

"If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake," Schumer said in a statement.

With his resignation, Coats joins a long list of senior officials who have left the administration since Trump took office in January 2017, either through resignation or firing, which includes one defense secretary, attorney general, two national security advisers, one secretary of state, an FBI director, and numerous top White House officials.

jcg/aw (Reuters, AP)

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