US President Donald Trump is expected to name US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday (February 19).
Grenell, a strong supporter of Trump’s policies, would replace Joseph Maguire, who has been acting director of national intelligence since August.
The move will add a seasoned foreign policy veteran with sharp elbows to Trump’s inner circle. While Grenell has a reputation for sometimes being abrasive, he has been adamantly loyal to Trump at a time when the president remains skeptical about the intelligence community.
Trump had a strained relationship with Dan Coats, who stepped down as director of national intelligence in August and had endorsed the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the objective of promoting Trump over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Trump also has objected to US intelligence community analyses of major issues – from Iran’s nuclear program to North Korea – that have clashed with his own assessments.