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Russia bounty scheme: Top Trump intel official John Ratcliffe faces his first big test

Analysis: So far, the new director of national intelligence has tried to walk the fine line of appeasing the president while not undermining his own intelligence reports, writes US political correspondent Griffin Connolly

Monday 29 June 2020 18:13 BST
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Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe faces the decision on whether he will toe the Trump line or the intelligence community line. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk -Pool/Getty Images)
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe faces the decision on whether he will toe the Trump line or the intelligence community line. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk -Pool/Getty Images)

Top Trump official John Ratcliffe is facing his first major test since the former Republican congressman's party-line confirmation last month as director of national intelligence.

With the president suggesting the alleged Russian intelligence scheme to pay bounties to Taliban fighters who kill US soldiers is a “fabricated Russia Hoax” intended to “make Republicans look bad,” he has thrust Mr Ratcliffe into a position that has gotten many Trump aides before him fired.

Mr Ratcliffe, a former Texas congressman whose history of partisanship had previously given pause to Senate Republicans and Democrats alike, can either prove his loyalty to Mr Trump by obfuscating the truth about the intel reports outlining the scheme, or he can directly refute the president’s delusions that Russia, under the direction of Vladimir Putin, would never perpetrate such a plot.

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