Trump taps Texoma congressman to be next national intel chief

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump has tapped a Texoma congressman as the next director of national intelligence.

Trump says he'll name Republican John Ratcliffe to take the place of Dan Coats when he resigns Aug. 15.

"President Trump’s call to serve in this role was not one I could ignore, and I am incredibly thankful to him for this great honor," Ratcliffe said via Twitter Sunday night. "I look forward to my new role with energy and focus."

The congressman says he'll take what he learned serving Northeast Texas in the House to his new job.

"It has been the privilege of my lifetime to be the voice for the people of the Fourth District of Texas over the past five years," Ratcliffe tweeted. "I will take their wisdom and common sense with me in my new role, and I will always remember with pride my service to them, and all that we have accomplished together."

Top Democratic lawmakers are expressing skepticism over President Trump's plan to nominate Ratcliffe, who has been critical of the special counsel's investigation into Russia's election interference.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says Trump picked Ratcliffe for what he calls "blind loyalty" to the president.

Ratcliffe was first elected to represent Texas' Fourth Congressional District, which includes Grayson, Fannin and Lamar counties, in 2014 when he unseated 17-term incumbent Ralph Hall.

It's not the first time Ratcliffe's name has come up for a high profile position. In late 2018, Trump reportedly considered Ratcliffe for the role of Attorney General before appointing William Barr.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.