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Collins, King Question Trump's Nominee For Director Of National Intelligence

President Donald Trump has nominated U.S. Rep. John Ratcliff of Texas to be director of national intelligence. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine joined their colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, spending hours on Tuesday questioning the nominee.

Senators from both parties expressed concern over Ratcliffe’s independence in the post, which oversees all intelligence agencies. King expressed worry that Ratcliffe would support questionable laws instead of pushing for change.

“You are simply saying you will follow the law, but if the law was changed to allow waterboarding or other forms of torture, would you say that was OK?” King said.

“I think the obligation I have, senator, is to follow the law,” Ratcliffe said.

Ratcliffe is a Republican from Texas, and was asked several times by committee members whether he could be apolitical in the job, and not skew intelligence reports to support the president’s point of view. He repeatedly assured the senators that he will provide unadulterated intelligence assessments to them and to the president.

“Would you communicate the intelligence community’s analytical views to the president, even if you knew that he would strongly disagree with them?” Collins said.

“Of course,” Ratcliffe said.