Committee approves Ratcliffe for DNI, sends to full Senate

Rep. John Ratcliffe R-Texas, testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May. 5, 2020. The panel is considering Ratcliffe's nomination for Director of National Intelligence. (Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate intelligence committee has approved the nomination of Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe to be Director of National Intelligence, sending the nomination to the Senate floor for confirmation.

Ratcliffe’s nomination was approved 8-7 in a closed committee hearing, with senators voting along party lines, according to a committee aide.

The aide was granted anonymity to discuss the closed proceedings ahead of an official announcement.  

Republicans have praised Ratcliffe, who has been ardent defender of President Donald Trump, while Democrats have been skeptical that he would serve with the independence they say is crucial for the job. 

Trump tapped the Rockwall Republican whose district includes Grayson, Fannin and Lamar counties for the same job last year, but Ratcliffe withdrew his name from consideration amid bipartisan concerns about his qualifications.

Ratcliffe was first elected to represent Texas' Fourth Congressional District in 2014 when he unseated 17-term incumbent Ralph Hall.

In late 2018, Trump reportedly considered Ratcliffe for the role of Attorney General before appointing William Barr.

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