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Collins says he’s not interested in DNI job ‘at this time’

Trump had hinted he wanted to avoid a contentious GOP primary for Georgia Senate seat

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President Donald Trump is considering Rep. Doug Collins for the post of director of national intelligence.

The president told reporters aboard Air Force One after a Thursday night campaign rally in Colorado Springs that the Georgia Republican was among his potential nominees for the intelligence chief position. Trump was heading back to Las Vegas, where he has been based during a western swing this week.

Collins, who is the outgoing ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, recently launched a primary challenge to GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Appointed to replace Republican Johnny Isakson at the start of the year, Loeffler faces Georgia voters in November for the remaining two years of Isakson’s term.

The campaign infrastructure of the Republican Party is supporting Loeffler and giving her the benefits of incumbency.

Collins told the Fox Business Network Friday morning that he did not currently want the intelligence post.”This is not a job that interests me, at this time it’s not one that I would accept because I’m running a Senate race down here in Georgia,” Collins said.

Trump had hinted during a White House victory celebration after his impeachment trial that he was looking for a way to avoid a contentious Georgia Senate primary for his party.

“A man who has been an unbelievable friend of mine and spokesman, and somebody … that I really like,” Trump said of Collins on Feb. 6. “And I know, Kelly, you’re going to end up liking him a lot. Something is going to happen that’s going to be very good.”

Nominating Collins would accomplish that objective, provided he wins Senate confirmation.

Earlier Thursday, Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, was designated as the acting director of national intelligence, one day after Trump had made the announcement in tweet. Grenell takes over from the previous acting director, Joseph Maguire.

According to multiple media reports, including from The Washington Post and The New York Times, Trump grew frustrated with Maguire after learning that a senior intelligence official told House members in a closed setting that Russia wants to see Trump win reelection in November.

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