Reports: Trump Wants To Move On From His Intelligence Chief

Posted: Jul 15, 2019 4:41 PM
Reports: Trump Wants To Move On From His Intelligence Chief

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Trump is reportedly thinking about switching his intelligence apparatus, eager to move on from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. There is no timetable. It could happen or it might not. You never know with this administration, but five sources told Axios that Trump removing Coats could be on the table. Coats said he’s not distracted by the drama drummed up by anonymous source and will continue to do his job to the best of his ability until told otherwise (via Axios):

Trump hasn't told our sources when he plans to make a move, but they say his discussions on the topic have been occurring for months — often unprompted — and the president has mentioned potential replacements since at least February. A source who spoke to Trump about Coats a week ago said the president gave them the impression that the move would happen "sooner rather than later."

The director of national intelligence serves as an overseer of the U.S. intelligence community and a close adviser to the president and National Security Council, producing each day's top-secret Presidential Daily Brief.

A source with direct knowledge told me that Trump has privately said he thinks the Office of the Director of National Intelligence represents an unnecessary bureaucratic layer and that he would like to get rid of it. He has been told that eliminating the ODNI is not politically possible, but still would like to "downsize" the office, the source said. 

A government source who has discussed the matter with Trump characterized the president's thinking this way: "It's time for a change. Dan's a great guy but the president doesn't listen to him anymore."

A White House official responded: "We have no personnel announcements at this time."


In a statement provided by the ODNI, Coats said, "I am focused on doing my job, and it is frustrating to repeatedly be asked to respond to anonymous sources and unsubstantiated, often false rumors that undercut the critical work of the Intelligence Community and its relationship with the President. I am proud to lead an IC singularly focused on the vital mission of providing timely and unbiased intelligence to President Trump, Vice President Pence and the national security team in support of our nation’s security."

We’ll see what happens. Right now, there are bigger battles to fight, but the publication noted that Fred Fleitz, John Bolton’s former chief of staff, could be selected as Coats’ replacement.