U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as national intelligence director

President Donald Trump is said to have been pleased by the Texas Republican's admonishment of former special counsel Robert Mueller in last week's House Judiciary Committee hearing.

U.S. Rep John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, questioned former special counsel Robert Mueller last week during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Office of Special Counsel's investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 presidential election.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated.

President Donald Trump said he will nominate U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Heath Republican, to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.

Axios broke the news, citing sources who said Trump was thrilled by Ratcliffe's admonishment of former special counsel Robert Mueller in last week's House Judiciary Committee hearing.

"The special counsel's job — nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him," Ratcliffe said to Mueller during that hearing. He argued that Mueller went beyond his bounds by making clear the investigation didn't exonerate the president.

Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor first elected in 2014, was mayor of Heath before successfully challenging the late Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, then the dean of the Texas delegation. This isn’t the first time Ratcliffe has been said to be under consideration for a position in this administration. In November, he was on a short list of possible replacements for fired U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

He is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Axios was followed by several other outlets, including The New York Times, in reporting that Coats is expected to step down soon. Coats has spent his tenure in the administration at odds with the president. The president's tweet followed that wave of reports.

Assuming Ratcliffe passes Senate confirmation, a special election will take place to succeed him in Congress. His 4th District stretches from the Dallas suburbs east to Texarkana. It is almost certain to stay in the Republican column.

Abby Livingston also contributed to this story.

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