Divided U.S. Senate confirms Trump nominee Ratcliffe to be top U.S. spy

WASHINGTON – The US Senate on Thursday backed legislator John Ratcliffe as the next director of national intelligence, a victory for President Donald Trump in his second attempt to install the conservative republican as head of the intelligence community.

Ratcliffe, a Member of the House of Representatives known for his fierce loyalty to Trump, was confirmed with 49 to 44 votes, far more ‘no’ votes than any other candidate is the best spy in the country.

The vote was strictly on party lines, with no to Democrats and yes to Trump’s fellow Republicans.

The vote makes Ratcliffe the first Senate-confirmed candidate for the National Security Post since August. It was last held by Richard Grenell, Trump’s ambassador to Germany, who received questions from Congress about bids to release secret records and reorganize his office.

Ratcliffe takes the position as the country faces a wide range of security threats, including the corona virus pandemic, strong competition with China and the widespread expectation that Russia will attempt to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections.

Trump first announced in July that he wanted Ratcliffe for the post created in 2004 to lead the country’s 17 intelligence agencies in a more uniform manner following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

However, Ratcliffe’s name was revoked after just five days, after both Democrats and Republicans questioned his qualifications and amid reports that he had filled his resume by exaggerating his role in prosecuting terrorists while serving as an American attorney in Texas worked. Ratcliffe was the youngest member of the House Intelligence Committee, with only six months on the panel, when Trump first tipped him.

Democrats said Ratcliffe was too partisan to ensure that intelligence services are not affected by political concerns. Republicans said they trusted him.

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