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Who is John Ratcliffe, Trump's pick to take over as Director of National Intelligence?

Trump nominates John Ratcliffe as intel chief
Trump nominates John Ratcliffe as intel chief... 04:00

President Trump has tapped Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe to take over one of the country's top jobs in the intelligence community — the director of national intelligence. The staunch Trump advocate has served in the House since 2015.

Ratcliffe is not a figure known in the intelligence community. Outside his positions on the House Intelligence Committee, Ratcliffe has served no official roles in the intelligence world in his life before Congress. It's a resume gap, or at least a perceived resume gap, that Democrats are seizing on after Mr. Trump's Sunday announcement. 

A few things to know about Ratcliffe:

  • Ratcliffe has expressed intense skepticism about former special counsel Robert Mueller's report, and defended Mr. Trump during Mueller's testimony last week — a performance not lost on Trump allies. The Texas congressman claimed Volume II of Mueller's report, which details potential instances of obstruction of justice, "was not authorized under the law to be written" and was "written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department." 
  • Serving on the House Intelligence Committee is still a new assignment for him. Ratcliffe only joined the committee in January. 
  • Ratcliffe was appointed Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas by former President George W. Bush. He was responsible for prosecuting terrorism cases. 
  • He touts arresting illegal immigrants on his website. Ratcliffe's congressional website notes that as a U.S. attorney, he "arrested 300 illegal aliens in a single day." 
  • He has a 96% lifetime score with Heritage Action for America, meaning he has one of the most conservative voting records in Congress.
  • Ratcliffe won his first congressional election by defeating the oldest incumbent in Congress, Ralph Hall, in 2014. 
  • He attended the University of Notre Dame for his undergraduate degree, then went to Southern Methodist University for law school. He and his wife, Michele, have two daughters.
  • He served four terms as the mayor of Heath, Texas, a small town near Dallas. 

Once Ratcliffe is formally nominated, he will be considered by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee. He still must be confirmed by the full Senate in order to take the job. 

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