Pres. Trump drops Rep. John Ratcliffe as pick for Director of National Intelligence

President Trump announced that he has pulled his nomination of Congressman John Ratcliffe, after tweeting that Ratcliffe will stay in Congress.
24:20 | 08/02/19

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Transcript for Pres. Trump drops Rep. John Ratcliffe as pick for Director of National Intelligence
Everybody welcome to the briefing her happy Friday and Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with this year and ABC news live some breaking news from the White House to close out the week. Another staffing shake up or at least a shake up with the president's nominees will get to that in a second also today we took a triple cross town. To where 2000 moms from across the country are gathered on gun violence will tell you about that. And also some special reporting from Hawaii major protests. On the Mauna Kea volcano there wide Dwayne the rock Johnson is getting involved we'll talk to him at the end of the show. As well but first let's bring in our senior justice investigative. Reporter Mike Levine. For more on a big shake up right now in the president's choice to head the unit US intelligence agencies Mike. The president had announced that he was going to name John Ratcliffe the congressman from Texas to be the next head. Of all intelligence gathering in the United States but moments ago there's a picture of congressman Ratcliffe the president tweeted this. I believe we have the tweets the president said that he is now has agreed to accept John reckless decision to step back. I blaming the media the wings stream meeting he called it. Explaining that to John would be miserable to go through this process deal with the criticism that's come over the past couple of days. Congressman Ratcliffe is in the state in congress. This is significant make ravine because the DM night is such a critical position in our government a lot of people don't hear about all the time that they do. In our important work. Yeah he's he's he's basically the coach of the intelligence team. He's not the one running the plays problem throwing the football but he is one that makes it happen that gets them. You're ready to go out on the field the sixteen agencies tens of thousands of people around the world. That come under his umbrella and this was a position created after nine elevenths. To be the guy that connects the dots to bridge those silos between the CIA the NSA the Pentagon. All the different branches and aren't in our in our intelligence community. Falls under this one hit. Step one of the biggest site intelligence failures from 9/11 was that information wasn't shared. This is the man who make sure that doesn't happen I saw a lot of Tom all the. This week on this front let's remind everybody when we started we started on Monday I would Dan Coats the esteemed former senator from Indiana who has been leading. The DNI clashing with president from. That he's out he's leading. And the president announced that John Ratcliffe would be stepping in. But immediately my keys started to face a mountain of criticism from all over the place including from Republicans. Well the first response from many people was Harry don't. Yeah the sky then when people start to look into his record it turned out that he would. He made many statements about his national security credentials the fact that he prosecuting terrorism cases when he was at the US attorney's office in the eastern district of Texas. It turns out he really prosecute this case is he really wasn't doing a sort of after action report on a specific terrorism so. His claim to fame as a prosecutor was rounding out the undocumented immigrants he said turns out he wasn't actually involved in that. But this case that you broke reporting on here to ABC news did that again just underscore he claimed that he was critical. In fighting terror cells in their financing prosecuting people getting involved in a trial. I even making claims that on the radio and on his website including this one in a recent interview with cyclists. Napa directly to a holy land trial I don't brought in for the but the second one of the first didn't hung jury but. You know part of what we looked at here with respect to this news or at this new radical ideology out there was. You know how was it being funded. Turn turns out Mike Kincaid and you talked to everybody involved in the case at the time many people involved I case. They have no recollection of him being any part of it it wasn't just me as a whole team at ABC news and everyone we talked to unanimously said he did not have. C a big role in this that he was there again as an after action investigator to look at what that what had happened went up first trial didn't go right so these embellishment said become a stain on his nomination right out of the gate in fact Susan Collins of Maine Republican senator wanted to moderates up on Capitol Hill who would have meant critical. In confirming job Ratcliffe to this position a voice skepticism about this just yesterday to Nicholas. I really would I don't know him hell. So. Feature to me he. He was public statements concern you at all and it's I really don't know. This public statements that. Red trillions planes. As he Mueller hearing thanks. It obviously has the person who blindly tell me who created the position at tractor and so. I want to make sure we have a person independence. Integrity. Susan Collins there are suggesting what its chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard first set had no idea who this guy hit. And so it's not just about these alleged embellishment it's about what qualifications does he actually half. The di and I has four offices office of counterintelligence officer counter proliferation. Cyber security. And counterterrorism so only one. Ratcliffe was cleaning experience and only one of those offices. And obviously not enough for some this Republican critics warned Phelps joins us now from the White House Jordan you've been taking a walk act. Not just the number of cabinet positions of the president has acting heads in right now. But a growing list of nominees people he's picked and put forward who have had to bow out for whole host of reasons from personal troubles you. To embellish most like we saw here. Dennis is like a movie that's on replay over here at the White House and Ratliff his death the later latest main character in that drama. But yes in seven year exactly right there is this. Growing trained it's been going on for two and a half years of the president putting forward. Someone who he intends to nominate in and that nomination. Having today withdrawn usually before it even gets off the ground into the formal processes was a case here we saw this of course with his. Picked to run the Pentagon Patrick Shanahan we saw this over at NBA with Ronnie Jackson those surges. To name a couple. Among a long list of people view. The president has put forward he often touts that he takes this Mars in the best people for these jobs. The for one reason or another that in these nominations tends to sour a lot of that is that the president tends to govern by impulse. I think he'll put forward nominations. I haven't been carefully vetted so that might have been what happens you're with Ratcliffe we know he was very impressed by his performance up on Capitol Hill. With Robert Mueller out when he questioned and criticized smaller very directly. And it was real fiery performance. That might have been something that factored into the president picking him for that post and just as quickly DeVon he's out the door. And as you are talking Jordan we we received a list of some of those people who have backed out for a number of reasons Herman Cain came to mind recently. Put forward up for the Federal Reserve bowed out after pressure from fellow Republicans in any poster. And Heather Nauert ten lead the UN and really interest in restaurant Phelps thanks for that stand by there might any idea who might. Be tapped to lead our intelligence agencies and it in this shake up period here absolutely not absolutely no idea no Rihanna horizon think. There are lots of people on the horizon but who does he picked as does president trump wanna fight now where does he know. And he certainly had an a political season with a tough. Senate to get somebody confirmed through Mike Levine thanks so much for that meanwhile the president. I continuing his attacks the past 24 hours on congressman Elijah Cummings. Of Maryland we've seen his victory all increase over the past few days the president this morning. Taking an extraordinary swipe at the congressman. I for what happened overnight stay in Baltimore Elijah Cummings reported that is home had been broken into. And the president said really bad news the Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings of robbed. Too bad. Seeming to mock and a congressman there that didn't sit well with a lot of the constituents of Baltimore were also a lot of Republicans it's go back to Jordan Phelps because. He really surprising voice a former member of Trump's cabinet has now spoken out about this very tweet. Seven among that was notable people coming out to criticize the president for this week saying it just. Went too far with his own former UN ambassador Nikki Haley she said he and you tweak this is so unnecessary. Along with. An eye roll analogy I and that's and prompted a response from one of the president's top advisors Kellyanne Conway who responded. Nikki Haley saying this is so unnecessary referring tech Haley street so seven as you can see the president continues to push the envelope with his attacks on Cummings. His attacks on Baltimore. But 71 thing is for sure the president continues to hold our attention on these attacks. He it's it's simply is quite something and Jordan Phelps thanks for that reporting not just. I'd drying active attacks from four crock congress people for farmers have of the cabinet. But also from a growing number of congressional Republicans and Ben Siegel is here. Because Ben you cover Capitol Hill and part of this story of the president's rhetoric the tone in Washington his campaign strategy. Isn't sitting well with a lot of Republicans even though they're not speaking out about it. A number of them are deciding to call it quits in this town referenced seen the tone here. That's real one of those Republicans congressman will heard from Texas. The only black. Republican lawmaker in the house he announces retirement less than surprising Washington he was one of those few Republicans who actually. Voted with Democrats to condemn that the president's tweets about this for congressman of color. First so the some people retire from congress for number of reasons but the president's rhetoric and some of his positions that Republicans are constantly asked to respond to that doesn't help their situation it. Take a look at and a list of lead we haven't released nine. Republican members of congress who decided to call it quits just in the past a couple of months. We we see that will hurt is on that list here from Texas but you also have two women to have that only thirteen. Republican women in congress are hanging it up. Also Paul Mitchell off of Michigan we are just a Michigan this week for the debate Paul Mitchell seen as a moderate there. He gave an emotional speech on the house for just a couple of days ago explaining why he was to deciding to retire right now. And he offered some allusions to president from take a listen. A true or Washington was never mind objectives. My mission is always been to simply address significant. Challenges this nation faces. Traded health care immigration and infrastructure. To name just a few. Horford appears to be that rhetoric overwhelms policy. And politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city. The time has come to make a difference for my spam went. To focus my time and energy upon them. And there was congressman now Paul Mitchell serving out the end of his term from. From McComb county part of Michigan that critical area that we were just in the past when he's been what's interesting about this list of Republicans retiring. Is that because there were summary retirements. Last year when he teen it help to Democrats win back control of the house. Is this dynamic going to hurt Republicans headed into torn torn is this something that Republicans should be worried about. I think is something they're worried about statistically it is much harder to you win reelection. Then to keep your seat it's always easier for an incumbent there's an advantage there so by virtue of all these Republicans leaving office that creates better chances for some of these Democrats to pick up this season and also hints that some of those larger demographic problems the face in the Republican Party this is very increasingly becoming a party of white men there is joke going around washed into Politico was very Smart to point out there are more who are other more men in congress named Jim then there are Republican women running for reelection right now. So that's again that's one of the larger trends but certainly if people were tiring does not help them take back. House is can we really interest and filed an eagle think you very much for that. I speaking of politics on Capitol Hill water issue reporter Republicans the issue of guns the Second Amendment. Something that has them fired up as we head closer to the twenties when he. I campaign season well. A number of moms have come to Washington DC to fight back to push back to demand action on gun legislation to get those Republicans. That are aligned with the NRA to step aside and allow a vote on this thing I wanna bring in one of those moms now she joins his friend a mosques is a mom a survivor. And a mother of some who lost someone to gun violence number and it's great to see your from Lynchburg Virginia you're in town for. What your organization moms against act moms demand action. Is calling big gun cents. You get her you tell us about it. I'm got associated diversity of something that we have every year to build our our movement so that we would become informed on the guns since laws and are all of the legislation that's happening doing the year and Virginia's one of those states they always have something. To reconnect. It's tell us about how you became energized and empowered on this issue weren't what is your connection to the lungs are about your supplements here can yet. My connection to mark the man action is because my sunshine. He was shot and killed and 27 team up with 262017. He was 34 years old he was my oldest son. And I had two choices I could be there may there and get premise of the two sons of the lead that they dessert or can get up and fight thought toast to get up and. And when your along side some on your mom's in the same position. What and I imagine that's very uplifting to them together pushing percent what is it that you think can be done right now and what's what's the low hanging fruit in your view. The low hanging fruit is. Back around ten. Universal background checks. Just common cents. You know if if if you don't have anything the hat and a background check is what you did I mean I have to have a background check the cargo on the job. They test me to draft Jernigan. Northbrook I don't know him but I'm not against them. Virginians a lot of gun owners a lot of them out so and I think they don't understand it's not about taking your guns it's not about taking a right. It's about asking you to be responsible for the choice that you have made. What what did you make it even taking in any of the democratic debate on this a lot of talk about gun violence not myriad plans to prevent gun violence from. Some which critics are calling some pie in the sky. To some very pragmatic heartfelt proposals will be like in that field. You know I'm not showing rounds. Let it cool with that I'd go with those that tend to understand that this is eight issue you this is a worldwide issue it's not. Does anybody since gun that was evident have a color doesn't have a weight it doesn't have a nationality. But it has a tar. And with what what's your sensors spend at least in this town for so many years and rep President Obama former president of always talked about. He. In action on legislation related to come on tis one his biggest disappointments biggest frustrations here. What do you think it's continue to breakthrough on that front I mean lot of talk with the NRA and Brad. What's it could take. Is gonna take people understanding that life is important. That's what is going to take. Is going to take people sitting down and having a hard conversations. Understanding it's not about the Second Amendment right. That belongs that every batch I just choose not to use. So when you say I want to take a Second Amendment Rights that's not true. And I don't want to guns because my son was shot seventeen time. Gosh so are I don't want to I wanted to be responsible. For the choice that you have. Q what's your son's name from channel children together Sean today thank you for coming measured category your story for an a mosque. A mom a survivor and gun violence anti gun violence act activists from Lynchburg Virginia appreciate you being here thank you so much gonna nice to meet you too. Moving on now to speed up politics. The issues of our day they certainly were on full display in Detroit this week the candidates back out on the trail today and number of them making their way. Out west after spending the past couple of days in the midwest are Lisette Rodriguez is. Is out in Boulder City she is tracking a number the candidates today mailers that. So to tell us what sort of this weekend it's a big weekend with a lot of candidates looking to build on momentum as they pushed towards the ABC debate. In Houston next month. Yeah so we are currently in Boulder City just miles away from Las Vegas where it's. A bunch of candidates are hitting the ground running here holding events throughout the region. Tomorrow nineteen of them will be addressing. A government workers union that holds about a million members. I've been following around better or working in passer in the last two days. But our work is already qualified for the next debate said that he's looking forward to continued his message of fighting for immigration rights. And climate change. When and Castro earlier today told us that while he has not made the next debate for Houston. He is looking forward to qualifying via a another poll by heavily camp Keeney an early campaign and early states. Like Nevada South Carolina New Hampshire and Iowa. They are they need those polls saying those donors was that Rodriguez force in Boulder City, Nevada thanks so much was I have a great weekend out there on the trail Johnny. For Hobart with their politically unity is here with us now because. All lies on Houston Texas the BBC news debate coming up on September 12 and thirteenth if there are two nights right. Remind everybody we're going to be talking a lot about this because the next three weeks are off for the candidates are all about meeting the new benchmarks it's a much. Tougher standard to get on the debate stage. Not only do they need journey more donors but they also need right. Have a much higher ranking including just. All these your is a very significant increase in what they need that the NC basically doubled the threshold from the first to bet round of debates in the second round in his. He's still in either war or is it not and you need you need to 130000 individual donors and then four four polls for qualifying palsy 2% support across and four of them accounting that's yet that's it that's significant I think that that tendency to do and there are a number candidates that are definitely and real jeopardy of missing out on the stage. So far we can tell all of you that at least eight of the field of 24 plus candidates have qualified for the Houston debate. Here on ABC news former us president Biden chief among them that's not a surprise. I America's birth of federal work has made ink caught that bar after stumbling over have been the first to be people who judge of course the big money raiser. In the second quarter is there all the big names in Klobuchar even this yes surprises me engine under. You got in today and for someone like about our work he definitely benefited from a permit for a quick start he raced over 69 dollars and first when he firms as campaign. How a lot of that but soon he benefits from sort of getting out of the gate and quickly but you when you're gonna see this winnowing this field based on this debate is going to be a really important thing to watch is Beatrice. In Los that we should and should put out to people they're actually two candidates were on the bubble are close. Who Leon Castro sentiment and Yang are both they're close they have met one of these things in that the donor officially surrender get their poll numbers are right. And then you've got Tulsa Gabbard who is close to reaching the donor threshold bestow pretty far behind in polls. Another question mark you have is Tom Snyder who got in the race pretty late but has obviously is pledged to spend over a hundred million dollars of his own money has a big network from his outside groups so. He's only got two polls the call by hand but Emory keep on higher political team is gonna keep an eye on that contract. Elderly and Marianne Williamson's there we see at the end she came join us on ABC news lies after night wanted to get paid in Detroit she told me she has 40000 donors she needs to hit. Is she said she hadn't checked yet what I heard donor had bumped him did you someone who is that we benefited from his she's got a following on social media that's good for her but that polling could be much harder for calling is definitely going to be tough because that's really about kind of name recognition is why you know you see some he's well known candidates who opinion a long since qualified for the polls. People know that but someone like Marianne Williamson got peninsula bit more time and a little bit more of national exposure she's really wants. Decision to sprint T Houston the ABC news debate Johnny thank you for that just remind everybody the ABC news. Third presidential debate takes place in Houston Texas will be covering it. I extensively here on ABC news live you can catch the entire thing here commercial free. On ABC news live complete with pre and post coverage so stay tuned next month September 12 and thirteenth. I finally today we're taking a look at an interest in story out of Hawaii and a major protest that's taking place on that island has standoff between scientists. And politicians. And then natives of the island of Hawaii it's getting some star power support. Dwayne the rock Johnson has joined protests. On a visit to the volcano Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii where they are. Scientists are hoping to build one of the largest telescopes. In the world to have deeper into space there's a fight over the sacred ground that it will be built on our Adrian banker correspondent in the LA bureau caught up with. The rock to talk about why he's getting involved here's Levine that. I have to ask you about the islands because you can hear for obviously the movie but you're also here. The passion project in visited the protesters that Mona can. I want to ask you because I mean obviously I watch the video that you posted on its agreement and I got chills. This is sacred land why was it important for you to make a statement and to show of solidarity with these protests. It was important for me get my boots on the ground and go to the protesters. Go to the elders and not only show my support. But. Hear from them directly. And listen to that and this is cyclical. And it's sacred ground to the native hawaiians moment it's very sacred place and it is described this as they deploy its their church. It's their church and it's very sacred something that they believe that they they deeply believe they can to protect. But it's how we all feel Polynesian. All throughout Polynesia is that. We have to protect our sacred land. That was the rock talking about the sacred land down that volcano in Hawaii where they're Adrian banker big protests there governor David Nagy of Hawaii. Walking back and order to get those demonstrators off the land he says they can stay there for now it would be the third largest telescope in the world as we said. Hoping the standoff can cool off a little bit scientists and those natives can both. You get there rain get this results we'll keep an eye on that. Well thanks for joining us here and ABC news live in the briefing room where her every day 3:30 eastern time 530 and 630 as well you can download the ABC news after policy in your pocket. Extremists live also the latest on all the stories we talked about today hope to see you back here Monday. 330 is well on Devin Dwyer have a great weekend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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