U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins of Maine declined to offer opinions about outgoing Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats’ likely replacement, U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, saying they would reserve judgment until an official nomination is made and hearings are held.

President Trump said in a tweet that he would nominate Ratcliffe, a third-term Republican congressman and outspoken supporter, to replace Coats. However, no official announcement about the nomination had been released as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Both King, an independent, and Collins, a Republican, praised Coats, describing him as a man of integrity who has served honorably in his position. Coats tendered his resignation Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

Collins and King, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declined to comment on Ratcliffe’s fitness for the position Monday, saying they would await the outcome of the official nomination process.

“I don’t know Rep. John Ratcliffe at all, and the White House has yet to submit his nomination to the Senate Intelligence Committee,” Collins said in a statement. “When that occurs, the Senate Intelligence Committee will thoroughly consider his nomination and hold a public hearing.”

Collins, a critical swing vote for the Republicans, said the job is very important to her because she co-wrote the legislation that created it 15 years ago, The Associated Press reported. She said she had never heard of Ratcliffe before last week, so she couldn’t comment on his qualifications, but she said she cares deeply “about having an independent, well-qualified individual in that post.”

“The American people need a (director) who will put our national security above all else, and when the president formally nominates his choice for the position, I will carefully study the nominee’s record to determine if he or she is up to the task,” King said in a statement.

 

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