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Trump nominates Rep. John Ratcliffe to be intel chief

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By Ken Dilanian  with NBC News Politics
Rep. John Ratcliffe
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, speaks during the House GOP post-caucus press conference in the Capitol on March 26, 2019.   -   Copyright  Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call, Inc.file

WASHINGTON — In what amounts to a direct challenge to Senate Republicans, President Donald Trump announced Friday that his pick to head the intelligence community is the same Republican congressman whose previous bid for that job collapsed last year amid revelations that he misrepresented his background.

Trump said in a tweet that he was nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas to be the director of national intelligence, calling the former federal prosecutor "an outstanding man of great talent."

Trump previously put forward Ratcliffe for the post last year, but abruptly withdraw the nomination after Senate Republicans began to balk. Among the factors was Ratcliffe's boast on his website that he "put terrorists in prison when, as NBC News reported at the time, there is no evidence he ever prosecuted a terrorism case.

Ratcliffe, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was among the most strident voices attacking the Russia investigation and advancing questionable notions, including asserting that "crimes were committed during the Obama administration" in investigating Russian election interference.