Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about “worldwide threats” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

July 28, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who has clashed with U.S. President Donald Trump over assessments involving Russia, Iran and North Korea, is expected to step down in the coming days, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Trump is seriously considering tapping U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe, a fellow Republican, to replace Coats in the job, a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Representatives for Ratcliffe were not immediately available for comment. Coats’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Coats, a Trump appointee who served as director of national intelligence since March 2017, clashed with his boss early on, taking a hard line toward Russia that sharply contrasted with the conciliatory approach Trump pursued toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In January, Coats told Congress that North Korea was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, contradicting Trump’s statement that Pyongyang no longer poses a threat. He also told lawmakers that Iran had continued to comply with a nuclear deal that Trump abandoned.

The next day, Trump on Twitter complained about the “passive and naive” U.S. intelligence leaders, suggesting they “go back to school!”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)

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