U.S. Senate panel backs Trump nominee Ratcliffe to be top U.S. spy

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2020. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted along party lines on Tuesday to back President Donald Trump’s nomination of Republican Representative John Ratcliffe to be director of national intelligence.

The committee said the vote was 8-7, along partly lines, with Trump’s fellow Republicans backing the nominee and committee Democrats opposed.

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His confirmation vote in the full Senate is expected to be close. Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 53-to-47-seat majority and rarely break from the president, but Ratcliffe has not won over Democrats. No floor vote has been scheduled.

Trump nominated Ratcliffe, a member of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, to be director of national intelligence last year. The nomination was dropped amid questions about his lack of experience and partisan reputation but the Republican president nominated him again this year.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; writing by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Howard Goller

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