According to a report published by Politico late Monday, the president met with Nunes — the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee — and other top advisers last week about potential replacements for Coats as the head of the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), according to sources familiar with the meeting.
The meeting has fueled speculation and conversation about Coats’s tenure ending, with talks about his replacement occurring more frequently recently, the sources said.
Coats has been serving as chief of ODNI since 2017 and is in charge of the nation’s intelligence agencies. He gives Trump briefings each day on threats and oversees the gathering of intelligence from around the globe by the country.
Some names have been thrown around by intelligence officials as potential replacements for Coats, such as Fred Fleitz — the CEO of the Center for Security Policy and former chief of staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton — and Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon, Coats’s number two and a well-liked career intelligence official.
A member of Congress that is in frequent communication with speculated that Nunes himself could be tapped for an intelligence job.
“The president would certainly consider Devin Nunes for the director’s position and I eventually see him serving in some capacity in this administration,” he said, adding that Nunes’s priority, however, was his congressional re-election efforts.
The White House and Nunes offered no comment on the Politico report while ODNI did not immediately get back to Politico for comment.
As IJR Blue previously reported, Coats — a former U.S. senator from Indiana and staunch opponent of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin — was caught off guard last year after it was announced on Twitter that the president had invited Putin to visit the White House.