Trump scuttles plan to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe as top intelligence official

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, President Donald Trump's pick to be the new director of national intelligence, will remain in Congress and not be nominated for the post, the commander-in-chief announced Friday.

"Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people," Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.

"John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country," he added.

The New York Times reported in late July that the congressman had overstated parts of his résumé.

Trump wrote that he would announce his new pick for the job "shortly."

Over the objections of senators and senior U.S. officials, the White House is planning to prevent the principal deputy DNI, Sue Gordon, from becoming acting director of national intelligence, according to one current and one former U.S. official familiar with the matter.

Gordon, a career intelligence official, has the backing of Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Burr said in a statement. And Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, tweeted in support of her today.

"Deputy DNI Sue Gordon is a proven patriot who understands foreign threats, respects the nonpartisan truth, and protects America 24/7," Rosenstein tweeted. "Daughter of a Navy Vice Admiral, mother of 2 Marine captains. Gordon is a great @realDonaldTrump appointee!"

But Trump is not a fan of Gordon, several intelligence officials told NBC News. And when DNI Dan Coats departs, he plans to appoint his own choice in the acting role.

Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon
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Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon and CIA Chief Operating Officer Brian Bulatao attend Central Intelligence Agency acting Director Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing to become the next CIA director in the Hart Senate Office Building May 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. If confirmed, Haspel would be the first woman to lead the nation's biggest spy agency. Haspel ran a secret 'black site' CIA prison in Thailand after September 11, 2001, where detainees were subjected to brutal interrogation techniques and she was later involved in approving the destruction of videotapes of interrogation sessions at that prison. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 24: Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon (C) arrives to brief members of the so-called 'Gang of Eight' at the U.S. Capitol May 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. The bipartisan group of senators requested a briefing from intelligence officials about the FBI's use of a confidential intelligence source in the Russia investigation. The 'Gang of Eight' consists of the top Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committee as well as congressional leaders from both parties. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Federal law says that when the position of director of national intelligence becomes vacant, the deputy director "shall serve" as acting director. But experts say there are conflicting statutes, and that the president may have the latitude to appoint a different person who already has been confirmed by the Senate.

This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.

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