22:33 GMT29 May 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump’s selection of Congressman John Ratcliffe as his next Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is inappropriate and based on TV performance rather than experience and qualifications, Senator Chris Murphy said on Monday.

    "I don’t know this guy", Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said on MSNBC. "I think he is a television character that the president has watched on television and he wants to put someone in the position who is going to agree with his political take on intelligence. … It strikes me as a very inappropriate choice for the job".

    Ratcliffe, a two term Republican congressman from Texas and former federal prosecutor, attracted attention last week with his effective questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his testimony before the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

    Murphy said Ratcliffe’s accomplishments are important, but he cannot escape the fact that he has been one of the US president’s "accomplices".

    "There will be a lot of hand-to-hand combat in the Senate over the nomination", Murphy said.

    Democratic Congressman Ron Wyden was even blunter in his assessment.

    "Congressman Ratcliffe is the most partisan and least qualified individual ever nominated to serve as Director of National Intelligence. The sum total of his qualifications appears to be his record of promoting Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about the investigation into Russian interference and calling for prosecution of Trump's political enemies", Wyden said in a statement on Monday.

    "Confirming this individual would amount to an endorsement of this administration's drive to politicize our intelligence agencies. This is a dangerous time, and America needs the most qualified and objective individuals possible to lead our intelligence agencies. Anything less risks American lives".

    Also on Monday, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr issued a statement praising the outgoing DNI Dan Coats.

    Coats had done a great deal to direct attention toward the growing aggression from Russia, China and Iran, including testifying at the Intelligence Committee’s annual Worldwide Threats hearing earlier this year, Burr said. Burr also promised to advance Ratcliffe’s nomination as quickly as possible.

    Meanwhile, several other Democratic lawmakers have slammed Trump’s decision. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to Trump with his "demagogic" questioning of Mueller.

    On Sunday, Trump in a Twitter post announced that the current Director of the DNI, Dan Coats, would be leaving by 15 August. The president also said that he has nominated Congressman John Ratcliffe to replace Coats.


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