WASHINGTON – Former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) will face tough questions Tuesday, as he testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during his official nomination hearing to be director of national intelligence.
The intelligence position was created in 2004, fallout from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and has become critical in helping prevent another terror attack.
Historically, the director of national intelligence has had a close ear to the president. Questions though have arisen as to the director’s exact role in President Donald Trump’s administration but reports indicate newly-appointed national security adviser H.R. McMaster would like to keep it as is.
Coats receives high praise from both Indiana Democrats and Republicans.
“I’m ready to vote for him because I’ve known him for many years,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said in an interview on Capitol Hill Monday. “I know that his dedication and devotion is to keeping our country safe.”
Republicans are eager to see him confirmed, with a background Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) points out is rooted in intelligence.
“He is the complete package in my mind to be director of national intelligence,” she said.
The hearing will come one day after Indiana lawmakers met with Gov. Eric Holcomb on Capitol Hill.
Holcomb, coming off the National Governors Association conference, met privately with Vice President Mike Pence Monday before returning to Indianapolis.
“He’s perpetually positive and optimistic,” Holcomb said. “And I think it’s infectious.”
Holcomb promised a united front with fellow Republican governors in the coming days, in what will be a closely-watched suggestion on how to replace the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s been appreciated by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to be quite honest with you, across the country that we’re being included and our opinion matters,” Holcomb said. “Seeking input from the governors is of paramount importance, and so soon days away we’ll put forward a policy we recommend.”