President Donald Trump is reportedly considering nominating Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., to be the next permanent Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Collins, seen as one of Trump's loyal advocates, would be placed in charge of the intelligence agencies the president has often criticized.
Trump reportedly suggested the possible Collins nomination to reporters Thursday night on Air Force One as he was flying from Colorado to Nevada where he is holding campaign rallies. It came a day after Trump made the surprise announcement he was replacing Acting DNI Joseph Maguire with Richard Grennell, a loyal supporter with little intelligence experience.
Multiple reports on Thursday revealed that members of the House Intelligence Committee were told by a senior intelligence official on Feb. 13 that Russia is meddling in the 2020 election in hopes of Trump will be re-elected. Trump, who has repeatedly denounced findings by U.S. intelligence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, reportedly became angered when he learned of the briefing. The New York Times, citing five sources, reports that Trump believes Democrats will use the information against him in the upcoming campaign.
Trump also reportedly got angry at Maguire in the Oval Office the next day. According to The Washington Post, it was believed Maguire was likely to be nominated as permanent DNI. That changed after Trump learned of the briefing.
On Wednesday, Trump announced with Grennell would replace Maguire on an acting basis. He's the current U.S. ambassador to Germany and will reportedly remain in that role as well as being Acting DNI. Grennell said Thursday he won't be named the nominee to the permanent job.
It was the latest move in what has been seen in a post-impeachment purge by the president. The Washington Post reports that Trump has instructed aides to remove those in the government who aren't loyal to him and replace them with those who are.
If Collins is nominated, it would solve a different problem for Republicans. Collins is running for the U.S. Senate seat from Georgia in November and appears headed for a nasty primary fight with Sen. Kelly Loeffler, another Trump loyalist. Collins becoming DNI would avoid such a intra-party clash.
Trump reportedly said Collins is one of several names under consideration.