Maine’s two senators cast opposing votes Tuesday when a Senate committee narrowly approved the nomination of a Texas representative as director of national intelligence.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 8-7, behind closed doors, to approve Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to the top national intelligence post. A committee aide told The Associated Press it was a party line vote with Republicans, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins, providing the majority support for Ratcliffe.

Sen. Angus King is an independent, but often votes with the Democrats on the committee.

In a statement, King said Ratcliffe has limited experience with the the country’s intelligence agencies, but a deep background in politics.

King called that “a dangerous combination, especially when viewed in the context of a president who, to this very day is removing inspectors general who are investigating potential wrongdoing in the federal government.”

Trump last week removed an inspector general at the State Department who was reportedly looking into reports that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo used department staffers for personal tasks and approved an arms sale to Saudi Arabia despite congressional opposition.

In questioning the nominee, Collins asked Ratcliffe whether he would deliver an intelligence assessment even if he knows the president “vehemently disagrees” with the analysis. Ratcliffe responded that he wouldn’t allow anyone’s views “on what they want the intelligence to be” shape his assessment of the information.

President Trump indicated nearly a year ago that he wanted to nominate Ratcliffe for the post, but the Texan initially withdrew his name after lukewarm response from Republican senators over his lack of experience with national intelligence and partisan attitude to government investigations.

A full Senate vote on Ratcliffe’s nomination is expected after Memorial Day.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.