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U.S. spy chief Dan Coats to step down next month

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday the nation's top intelligence official, Dan Coats, would leave his post next month and he would nominate Republican congressman John Ratcliffe to replace him.

Trump taps Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe as replacement

Dan Coats, director of U.S. national intelligence since March 2017, clashed with President Donald Trump early on. He will leave office on Aug. 15. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday the nation's top intelligence official, Dan Coats, would leave his post next month and he would nominate Republican congressman John Ratcliffe to replace him.

"I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence," Trump said on Twitter.

Coats's two-year tenure was marked by clashes with Trump over assessments involving Russia, Iran and North Korea

Coats will leave office on Aug. 15, Trump said on Twitter.

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 President Vladimir Putin.

Out of step with Trump

Coats frequently appeared out of step with Trump and disclosed to prosecutors how he was urged by the president to publicly deny any link between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The frayed relationship reflected broader divisions between the president and the government's intelligence agencies.

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 complained on Twitter about the "passive and naive" U.S. intelligence leaders, suggesting they "go back to school!"

with files from The Associated Press

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