Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), President’s Trump nominee for director of national intelligence (DNI), said at his confirmation hearing Tuesday that every government whistleblower should receive “every protection under the law.”
As one of Trump’s fiercest defenders during the impeachment inquiry, Ratcliffe repeatedly sought to undermine the credibility of the Ukraine whistleblower, claiming without evidence that the complaint was “wrong in numerous respects.”
Ratcliffe said at Tuesday’s hearing that he did not want to “re-litigate” impeachment, but claimed that his issue was that the president didn’t receive “due process” during the House inquiry.
The Daily Beast reports:
Ratcliffe’s official, verified campaign Twitter account follows several accounts on the political fringe, including a 9/11 truther account with just one follower besides himself and four promoting the outlandish QAnon conspiracy theory, which posits that the world is run by a cabal of Democratic pedophile-cannibals—and has been ruled a potential source of domestic terrorism by the FBI.
The conspiracy theorists followed by Ratcliffe, whose nomination for director of national intelligence goes before the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday morning, cover a bizarre range of beliefs. They posit that John F. Kennedy Jr. faked his death to help Trump to take down the Deep State. Others claim a Democratic sex dungeon exists in in a Washington pizzeria.
ABC News reports:
Asked during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee whether he had seen any intelligence to support an unproven theory that the coronavirus emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, Ratcliffe said, “I have not,” before qualifying his answer by saying he had not received a classified briefing in several weeks.
In a subsequent line of questioning from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Ratcliffe said he had not seen intelligence to suggest the disease began in a food market in Wuhan, either. Ratcliffe also said he believes President Donald Trump has accurately conveyed the severity of the virus, in response to a line of questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris.
Talking Points Memo reports:
Ratcliffe refused to say Tuesday whether he agreed with the Intelligence Community’s (IC) assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections to help the president.
Ratcliffe said that while he had “no reason to dispute” the Senate panel’s findings, he also would not dispute the House Intelligence Committee’s conclusions, a panel on which Ratcliffe serves.
“I respect both committees, but I have not seen the underlying intelligence to tell me why there is a difference of opinion between the two committees,” Ratcliffe said.