President Donald Trump announced on Friday that Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) will no longer be his nominee to replace Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Trump essentially said that the decision was made after he explained to Ratcliffe that the fake news about him would only get worse.
….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
Trump’s tweets when combined into a paragraph:
Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people. John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.
The so-called “libel” and “slander” the president referred to were news reports about Ratcliffe seemingly misrepresenting his role in “an anti-terrorism case that he’s repeatedly cited among his credentials related to national security issues.” Trump later suggested that the media scrutiny of Ratcliffe wasn’t actually a bad thing.
Trump blames Ratcliffe abandonment on the media’s “slander and libel,” then says he has outsourced his vetting to the media and that’s a good thing https://t.co/SEUrfBHDJu
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 2, 2019
Ratcliffe had claimed to have “convicted individuals who were funneling money to Hamas behind the front of a charitable organization.”
The only "terrorism" case to which Ratcliffe was assigned that resulted in a conviction was the prosecution of Kenneth Kanyayi, who was accused of using someone else's Social Security number to gain employment. pic.twitter.com/D209vZAAUw
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) August 2, 2019
After the initial round of reporting, others came forward to say that Ratcliffe touted his appointment to a role that “doesn’t exist.”
In response to accusations that Ratcliffe misrepresented his professional experience, a Ratcliffe spokeswoman told CNN Thursday that Justice Department records would “confirm that as both Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security for the Eastern District of Texas from 2004-2008, John Ratcliffe opened, managed and supervised numerous domestic and international terrorism related cases.”
It’s not yet clear who will be nominated instead of Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor, was initially nominated to be DNI just days after he grilled former Special Counsel Robert Mueller at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Ratcliffe asked Mueller what “DOJ principle or policy sets forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined?” Mueller began to respond, saying that “this is a unique situation.” Ratcliffe cut him off.
The reaction to the Friday news was swift and merciless.
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) August 2, 2019
I wonder how the people of Rep Ratcliffe’s district will feel about being represented by a resume padder on such a scale it was too much for President Trump?
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) August 2, 2019
Flashback. Trump yesterday: "Congressman Ratcliffe is an outstanding man and I'm sure that he'll be able to do very well."
Via CSPAN pic.twitter.com/5FyBTP9CwZ
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 2, 2019
And, for the record, Ratcliffe was never the victim of “slander” or “libel.” He was the subject of vigorous, fair reporting about how he portrayed his tenure as a prosecutor.
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) August 2, 2019
With #Ratcliffe withdrawing nomination after he was exposed for lying about resume to get elected to Congress and to obtain a government job with national security responsibilities …
Maybe he should now be referred to the Office of Congressional Ethics/House Ethics Committee.
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) August 2, 2019
Ratcliffe's unraveling began when my colleague Pete Williams decided to check to see whether he had ever "put terrorists in prison," as he had claimed. As we were the first to report, he did not. #Journalism
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) August 2, 2019
Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.
[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]