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Trump picks former Senator Coats as national intelligence director

Editor: Wang Lingxiao 丨Xinhua

01-08-2017 11:04 BJT

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Saturday that he will nominate former Senator Dan Coats for U.S. director of national intelligence.

"I'm very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as director of national intelligence," Trump said in statement, adding that the former lawmaker has "clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community."

The announcement came amid a rift between Trump and the U.S. intelligence community over Moscow's alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election last year.

The U.S. intelligence released a report on Friday, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering "an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election" in order to "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process."

Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the findings that Russia has intervened in the 2016 presidential election. The Russian government has also denied the accusations.

Coats, 73, had served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and was a member of the chamber's Armed Services Committee. He was also the U.S. ambassador to Germany under former President George W. Bush.

"If confirmed as director of national intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration's ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm," Trump said.

The announcement for the top intelligence post also comes a day after Trump met with chiefs of intelligence agencies -- including the current director of national intelligence James Clapper -- in New York to be briefed on alleged Russia cyber attacks against the United States.

Following the meeting, Trump said the alleged hacking activities had no impact on the election results and that he didn't directly acknowledge Moscow's responsibility.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that that "only 'stupid' people" do not want a good relationship with Russia, adding that the United States has "enough problems around the world."

"When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!" he tweeted.

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