- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2019

Rep. Chris Stewart touted Monday the record of Rep. John Ratcliffe as President Trump’s choice to replace outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, quelling worries that the pick was too political and that Mr. Ratcliffe didn’t have enough experience for the job.

“You have to remember, he has a very different role in the DNI. He’s not a technician. It’s like the CEO of Home Depot isn’t a plumber or an electrician. He’s a business leader, and the DNI is essentially someone who works with Congress, works with the president. It’s important he has the president’s trust, and he coordinates with all of these agencies,” Mr. Stewart, Utah Republican, said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Mr. Trump announced Sunday that Mr. Coats’ position would be given to Mr. Ratcliffe, Texas Republican, whose resume has drawn criticism for being less involved in intelligence agencies compared to other DNIs.

While past nominees had been in charge of one or two intelligence agencies, Mr. Ratcliffe’s only experience has been in serving in Congress since 2014 on the House Judiciary Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and being a former U.S. attorney for Texas’ Eastern District

CNN’s Jim Scuitto noted that Mr. Ratcliffe gave special counsel Robert Mueller a “critical speech” during the House intelligence committee hearings and mentioned reports that the performance “put him over the top.”

“Are you concerned politics made the difference here as opposed to experience?” Mr. Scuitto asked Mr. Stewart.

“I promise you this, he won’t make it a political position and his role in Congress is different than it will be at DNI,” Mr. Stewart replied. “He’s very very bright. Again he has the president’s trust, he understands how Congress works and he understands the overall picture of how these 17 agencies work.”

The congressman then shared doubts on CNN’s reporting, saying: “I don’t believe at all that it was his performance on Wednesday that made the difference. I think this is a conversation that’s been going on for quite a while, and I think John has impressed the president for a number of months.”

Regardless, Mr. Stewart said Mr. Ratcliffe’s loyalty is to the U.S., and he will “not turn that aside for any political considerations.”


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