WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s choice for national intelligence director.
Senators voted 85-12 Wednesday to approve the nomination of former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, making him the fifth person to hold the post created after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Coats replaces James Clapper, who retired at the end of the Obama administration.
As the Trump administration’s top intelligence official, Coats will oversee 16 other intelligence agencies that have been harshly criticized at times by Trump president for past failures and their assessment that the Kremlin interfered in the election to help him win.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Coats will be an effective director and also would restore credibility to the U.S. intelligence community.
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The Senate has voted to proceed with his nomination process, ending the debate over his name by a vote of 88 to 11. Only a simple majority is needed to move forward.
Majority leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate was preparing for a possible confirmation vote late Wednesday, but Democrats have the opportunity to delay a final vote until next week according to the Senate rule book.
Senator Rand Paul was the only Republican senator to vote against Coats. And your math isn’t wrong: A senator from Georgia was not present at the vote.