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Why Trump Nixed This Replacement Candidate For Outgoing Director Of National Intelligence Dan Coats

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The Trump administration is undergoing a facelift with its intelligence officials. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is exiting in August, and we learned tonight that his deputy, Sue Gordon, is also vacating her post. President Trump has selected National Counterterrorism Center Director Joseph Maguire to serve as acting DNI (via Fox News):


President Trump said Thursday National Counterterrorism Center Director Joseph Maguire would become acting Director of National Intelligence, effective Aug. 15, when current Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is set to leave the administration.

The president also announced that Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon will leave that position on the same day.

"Admiral Maguire has a long and distinguished career in the military, retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2010," Trump tweeted. "He commanded at every level, including the Naval Special Warfare Command. He has also served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. I have no doubt he will do a great job!"

While Trump praised Gordon in public, there was no shot she was going to replace Coats. She was seen as too close to ex-CIA Director John Brennan (via Bloomberg):

Several Trump allies outside the White House had urged the president to remove Gordon, a career intelligence officer, describing her as too close to former CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan has publicly criticized Trump’s leadership, and the president in turn has called him “the worst CIA director in our country’s history.”

Trump had told reporters Friday that he liked Gordon “very much” and said he might appoint her acting director.

But after House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, praised Gordon last month, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “If Adam Schiff wants her in there, the rumors about her being besties with Brennan and the rest of the clown cadre must be 100% true.”


Trump hit a slight roadblock when he first selected Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to be Coats’ successor. There was criticism that Ratcliffe wouldn’t be an impartial voice, especially after the Republican congressman torched ex-Special Counsel Robert Mueller over the nature of the Russia probe in July.


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