Appearing on CNN’s “New Day,” national security expert Juliette Kayyem ripped into Donald Trump’s choice to replace Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, saying he is completely unqualified for the position.
Speaking with host John Berman, Kayyem — who lectures on national security at Harvard — said Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) was only chosen because he is a Trump loyalist who happens to be a Russian election interference skeptic.
“Ratcliffe has no business being nominated,” she bluntly stated. “He is unqualified in every aspect for this position except for one, and that is his skepticism about Russian influence and election meddling and he’s made his cause célèbre over the last year.”
“He embraces these conspiracy theories we saw in the hearing with [special counsel Robert] Mueller last week,” she continued. “The one qualification he [Trump] does want is someone skeptical about Russian influence. If you put this nomination together with what [Sen. Mitch] McConnell is doing in the Senate — which is stopping any laws that would protect our elections — these appointments are really about 2020, they are not about running an agency.”
“They are essentially ensuring that the United States is ill-prepared or unprepared to deal with the Russian influence in 2020,” she added. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that just a week or two ago Coats had announced a Russian task force, Russian election task force for 2020. Ratcliffe I have no doubt will end that if confirmed. But that is a big if as Phil [Mudd] said.”