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US Senate intelligence panel oks Trump's pick for spy chief

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Rep. John Ratcliffe arrives on Capitol Hill on May 5 to answer questions about his confirmation as director of national intelligence.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Tuesday to advance Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to a full chamber vote.

Burr said in late March that he "relied exclusively on public news reports to guide my decision on the sale of stocks February 13". Ratcliffe sought to shed his reputation as a Trump loyalist at his confirmation hearing earlier this month, insisting he would lead the nation's intelligence agencies without partisan influence.

It's a remarkable turnaround for the three-term congressman, who was initially picked by President Donald Trump to succeed Coats past year but withdrew after questions emerged from senators in both parties about exaggerations to his national security resume and his partisan record. Richard Grenell, who is close to Trump, is now the acting director.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is in the final stages of a three-year, bipartisan investigation into Russian election interference that has at times roiled President Donald Trump and his allies, including when Burr issued a subpoena for Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., last year.

The president nominated Ratcliffe to serve as DNI in February, just months after the congressman abruptly withdrew his name for the same post when he was first put forward to replace Dan Coats.

The hearing was the first for the panel's new chairman, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, tapped Rubio to temporarily lead the committee after Sen.

Senator Burr (R-N.C) stepped down last Thursday after Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized his cellphone as part of an ongoing probe related to stock sales he made before the coronavirus pandemic caused global stock markets to crash. Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel's top Democrat.

Ratcliffe's nomination was approved 8-7 in a closed committee hearing, with all Democrats voting against it, according to a committee aide.