News

White House

Trump Taps Richard Grenell as Acting Intelligence Head

Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 18, 2019. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

President Trump announced Wednesday that he is recalling the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, to name him the acting director of national intelligence, confirming a New York Times report.

Grenell, an outspoken Trump ally, will replace Joseph Maguire, who took over as acting DNI after Dan Coats, the former Republican senator from Indiana, resigned in August. Maguire is required to give up the role before March 12, after which the president can appoint any Senate-confirmed official to head the U.S. intelligence agencies.

Grenell will only be able to serve three months as acting director, but does not have to be confirmed by the Senate for the temporary role, having already been confirmed as ambassador. It’s unclear if Trump would move to nominate him for the official role, which would require another confirmation process.

The president has tried to appoint loyalists to the position in the past, having initially chosen Representative John Ratcliffe (R., Texas) to take the position last year, only to revoke the nomination after it became clear Ratcliffe would face resistance and a drawn-out confirmation process.

Grenell played an instrumental role in getting Ecuador to hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to British authorities for extradition, after promising that Assange would not face the death penalty in the U.S. Assange’s lawyers claimed in extradition court on Wednesday that he was offered a pardon by Trump through former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher in exchange for stating that Russia did not hack the Democratic National Committee. Assange had stated previously that Russia was not behind the DNC hack, as reported widely.

Rohrabacher later denied the allegations, saying instead that Assange had proposed the deal to him, which he relayed to then-White House chief-of-staff General John Kelly, and that he had never spoken with Trump about pardoning Assange before their meeting in 2017.

Most Popular

Film & TV

America’s Favorite Movie

For more than a decade, readers volunteering their ratings on the movie site IMDb have declared The Shawshank Redemption (1994) their favorite film of all time. (Number two is The Godfather). Unlike the unholy tablets that are the box office charts, which are strongly linked to marketing budgets and show a ... Read More
Film & TV

America’s Favorite Movie

For more than a decade, readers volunteering their ratings on the movie site IMDb have declared The Shawshank Redemption (1994) their favorite film of all time. (Number two is The Godfather). Unlike the unholy tablets that are the box office charts, which are strongly linked to marketing budgets and show a ... Read More
Media

The Media Owe Senator Tom Cotton an Apology

One of the biggest issues people have with the mainstream press these days is that some of its members are so insulated that they end up buying into and promoting false narratives without actually checking these narratives' veracity. That seems to be exactly what happened in mid February, when major outlets ... Read More
Media

The Media Owe Senator Tom Cotton an Apology

One of the biggest issues people have with the mainstream press these days is that some of its members are so insulated that they end up buying into and promoting false narratives without actually checking these narratives' veracity. That seems to be exactly what happened in mid February, when major outlets ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcome Back, Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a miracle of modern technology. Cheap, light, convenient, and ubiquitous, they provide an elegant solution to a problem. If you recycle them, as most people do, and put your rubbish in them, that creates a net reduction in carbon emissions compared with buying the heavier, thicker ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcome Back, Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a miracle of modern technology. Cheap, light, convenient, and ubiquitous, they provide an elegant solution to a problem. If you recycle them, as most people do, and put your rubbish in them, that creates a net reduction in carbon emissions compared with buying the heavier, thicker ... Read More
U.S.

Some Good News Going into the Weekend

It’s Friday -- although I know it’s getting harder and harder to tell these days. You deserve a respite from yesterday’s gloom. (If you’re hungry for more gloom, there’s always the most recent edition of The Editors podcast -- and thank you, dear readers, for checking on me.) Today’s newsletter ... Read More
U.S.

Some Good News Going into the Weekend

It’s Friday -- although I know it’s getting harder and harder to tell these days. You deserve a respite from yesterday’s gloom. (If you’re hungry for more gloom, there’s always the most recent edition of The Editors podcast -- and thank you, dear readers, for checking on me.) Today’s newsletter ... Read More