Trump Considers Replacing Director National Intelligence Dan Coats With Anti-Muslim Activist Fred Fleitz
Trump has often disapproved of Coats over the last two years as the lead intelligence official to the president. Most notably Trump was unhappy with Coats’ comments to Congress a few months ago where he publicly contradicted the president on possibility of North Korea agreeing to give up nuclear weapons. Aides close to the president said Trump was complaining about the incident for weeks.
Now there is talk about Trump wanting to replace Cotes immediately, according to multiple sources.
Axios reported Saturday that the president may push to replace Cotes with Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and National Security Advisor John Bolton’s former chief of staff. Fleitz has also worked closely with a far-right, anti-Muslim think tank, the Center for Security Policy.
A source told Axios that the president sees Coats position as an “unnecessary bureaucratic layer and that he [Trump] would like to get rid of it,” or at least “downsize” the office. The appointment of Fleitz would definitely create less friction as Fleitz and Bolton already have a history of \agreeing on some issues related to foreign relations.
When Coats was asked for a comment, his office gave this statement, “I am focused on doing my job, and it is frustrating to repeatedly be asked to respond to anonymous sources and unsubstantiated, often false rumors that undercut the critical work of the Intelligence Community and its relationship with the President.”.