Senate Intelligence panel approves Ratcliffe as spy chief (Reports).
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to advance Congressman John Ratcliffe’s nomination to be the next director of national intelligence (DNI) on Tuesday morning, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote by the full Senate. Ratcliffe’s nomination was approved behind closed doors along party lines in a vote of 8 to 7, with all Democrats voting against.
The committee held a confirmation hearing for Ratcliffe earlier this month. Although the Senate Intelligence Committee has been to work on a more bipartisan basis than other congressional committees, Democrats and Republicans are sharply divided over Ratcliffe’s nomination.
Ratcliffe was first nominated by President Trump to be DNI last summer, but withdrew his name from consideration amid concerns about his lack of experience and media reports that he inflated his resume. Mr. Trump nominated Ratcliffe again in February, after naming U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as acting DNI. Grenell has a combative relationship with members of Congress, and faced criticism over his qualifications for the role.
Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, addressed issues with Grenell directly during Ratcliffe’s confirmation hearing earlier this month.
“Some have suggested that your main qualification for confirmation to this post is that you are not Ambassador Grenell,” Warner said. “But frankly, that is not enough.”
In his confirmation hearing, Ratcliffe promised to deliver “objective and timely” intelligence to senior policymakers and to ensure that it was “collected, analyzed and reported without bias, prejudice or political influence.”
The vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee comes after Senator Richard Burr stepped aside as chairman for the duration of a federal investigation into allegations of insider trading. Senator Marco Rubio succeeded Burr as the temporary chair of the committee.