Rep. John Ratcliffe is one of Trump’s staunchest defenders in the impeachment hearings, consistently challenging witnesses’ credibility. Yet the congressman has faced his own challenges with the truth.
One of the most conservative members of Congress, Ratcliffe, who represents northeast Texas, frequently launches into fiery defenses of the president, including on Friday when he provoked a heated exchange with Ambassador Bill Taylor.
Ratcliffe himself has a storied history with the White House and the Intelligence Community. In July, Trump announced his intention to nominate Ratcliffe for the director of national intelligence(the previous DNI, Dan Coats, was often willing to contradict Trump and Ratcliffe was likely selected for his loyalty to the president). Controversy ensued almost immediately after his nomination. Critics, including career intelligence officials, felt that he was too inexperienced and partisan for the job. Even Republican Senators were hesitant about his nomination.
“For what is supposed to be perhaps the most nonpartisan job in Washington, Mr. Trump selected one of the capital’s fiercest political warriors,” the New York Times noted at the time of his DNI nomination.
Reports also emerged that Ratcliffe had embellished his record. His congressional website claimed he had “arrested 300 illegal immigrants in a single day” as a federal prosecutor in a roundup of workers at a poultry plant. According to the Washington Post, his office only charged 45 workers, and two of those cases were dismissed because the defendants turned out to be U.S. citizens.
Based on reports, Ratcliffe also exaggerated his involvement in terrorism cases, claiming to have “put terrorists in prison.” But officials involved said that Ratcliffe played little substantive role in doing so.
Trump withdrew Ratcliffe’s nomination less than a week after it was announced.
Had it not been for the storm of scrutiny, Ratcliffe could have been director of national intelligence when the whistleblower filed his or her complaint that launched the impeachment investigation against Trump.
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