Trump’s Pick for National Intelligence Was Banned From Russia
I’m at a lost here. Trump is apparently picking Dan Coats to be director of national intelligence. From Vox:
Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats is Trump’s pick to be the director of national intelligence — the person who oversees all 16 of the nation’s intelligence agencies, from the CIA to the NSA. In 2014, Coats and several other members of Congress were banned from Russia in retaliation for the sanctions the US had slapped on Moscow because of its invasion of Ukraine.
“While I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go on vacation with my family in Siberia this summer,” Coats joked at the time, “I am honored to be on this list.”
Coats, a conservative Republican who spent more than a decade in the Senate and served four terms in the House of Representatives, was also ambassador to Germany during the George W. Bush administration. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Coats was a vocal Russia hawk, pushing for even tougher action against Putin for his “aggression” in Ukraine and Crimea.
“Putin’s recent aggression is unacceptable, and America must join with our European allies to isolate and punish Russia,” he said after learning he’d been banned from Russia. “I will continue to lead efforts on Capitol Hill to bring Putin to his senses.”
I felt like I was missing something, so I took a look at Coats’s Wikipedia page. His political record isn’t great (he’s anti-abortion, he fought against closing corporate tax loopholes and gays and lesbians serving in the military), but he also apparently helped establish ties with Angela Merkel. But:
Coats lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is married to Marsha Coats, Indiana’s female representative to the Republican National Committee. During the 2016 presidential campaign she endorsed Donald Trump, saying, “I truly believe the office will change Donald Trump. I believe it will humble him. And, I think even Donald will be impelled to turn to God for guidance… I believe our party needs to give Donald Trump a chance.”
Coats is a member of The Fellowship, an informal and highly-secretive association of Christian lawmakers. In recognition of his decades of involvement with that organization he received the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s Charles G. Berwind Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He also frequently donates to charity and has helped underprivileged youth.
Under an ordinary Republican administration (whatever that means anymore) I wouldn’t be thrilled with Coats, but I could live with him. Under the Trump regime, I’m at sea. Is Coats one of those many Republican politicians who were against Putin to make Obama look bad? Is Trump’s inner circle planning to de-fang the director of national intelligence? Are they worried about Putin screwing them over? Or is Trump just repaying a favor without thinking, like so many of his picks?