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Committee approves Trump ally Ratcliffe for intel chief, sends to full Senate

Committee approves Trump ally Ratcliffe for intel chief, sends to full Senate”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been named Acting Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after former head Sen. The group is expected to vote next week on Rep. John Ratcliffe's (R-TX) nomination to serve as the next director of national intelligence.

Rubio sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, eventually losing the primary race to real estate developer Donald Trump, who defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in that November's general election.

The party-line vote is a shift from the panel's 14-2 approval for former DNI Dan Coats, who stepped down previous year. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) announced he would step aside from the position during a federal investigation of his stock trades.

Richard Grenell, the USA ambassador to Germany, is now serving as acting DNI.

President Trump indicated almost a year ago that he wanted to nominate Ratcliffe for the post, but the Texan initially withdrew his name after lukewarm response from Republican senators over his lack of experience with national intelligence and partisan attitude to government investigations.

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The months in between were a tumultuous time in the intelligence community, as Trump ousted and fired multiple officials, and senators have said they are eager for a permanent replacement for Coats. Marco Rubio. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, tapped Rubio to temporarily lead the committee after Sen.

At his hearing, Ratcliffe worked to separate himself from the president, including by saying he believed Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election, a conclusion Trump has often resisted. The next day, McConnell announced that Burr would be stepping aside from his role as chairman of the committee during the duration of the investigation. "The Committee has always been one that conducts its work seriously, and I look forward to continuing that tradition", Rubio said in a statement.

He was also a member of Trump's impeachment advisory team last fall and aggressively questioned witnesses during the House impeachment hearings.

Burr and his wife sold between $600,000 and $1.7 million in stocks in 30 transactions from late January through mid-February.

Burr denies any wrongdoing, and plans to return as chairman once the investigation is concluded despite calls for his resignation from both sides of the political aisle.



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