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Congressman Doug Collins won't accept DNI nomination if asked by Trump

President Trump told reporters Thursday that he is considering nominating Congressman Doug Collins, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and a key ally of the president, to be the next director of national intelligence. But Collins' preemptive response to the offer is essentially "thanks, but no thanks."

In an interview with Fox Business Friday, Collins said that while it's "humbling" to be considered for the post by the president, he is focused on his run for the the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Collins is challenging Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp earlier this year, in the Republican primary.

"This is not a job that's of interest to me, and it's not one that I'd accept," Collins said of a potential appointment to be the top intelligence official in the U.S.

Mr. Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he was considering Collins for the position. The president announced earlier this week that Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany and a staunch Trump loyalist, would replace Joseph Maguire as acting director of national intelligence.

Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet later on Friday morning that "four great candidates" are being considered for the DNI nomination.

"Four great candidates are under consideration at DNI. Decision within next few weeks!" Mr. Trump said.

Congressional Republicans urged Collins not to challenge Loeffler, but he is determined to continue his quest to unseat her. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is supporting Loeffler, as is the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"The shortsightedness in this decision is stunning. Doug Collins' selfishness will hurt David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and President Trump. Not to mention the people of Georgia who stand to bear the burden of it for years to come," NRSC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin said in a statement when Collins announced his bid at the end of January.

Mr. Trump indicated earlier in February that he was looking for a way to avoid a contentious intra-party fight.

"I know, Kelly, you're going to end up liking him a lot. Something is going to happen that's going to be very good," Mr. Trump hinted about Collins in a victory speech following his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial. Collins was one of the president's most vocal supporters during impeachment.

Loeffler has already established her loyalty to Mr. Trump, quick to defend him during the impeachment trial by openly criticizing Senator Mitt Romney, who ultimately voted to convict the president on one of the articles.

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