Trump taps loyalist Grenell as nation’s top intel official

U.S. President Donald Trump's envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Ambassador Richard Grenell, speaks during a press conference after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has named Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, as acting director of national intelligence.

Grenell, a loyal and outspoken Trump supporter, has been U.S. ambassador to Germany since 2018.

He previously served as U.S. spokesman at the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration, including under then-Ambassador John Bolton.

The move puts a staunch Trump ally in charge of the nation’s 17 spy agencies, which the president has only tepidly embraced.

The appointment is already being criticized by those who say the job should be held by someone with deep intelligence experience.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is accusing Trump of trying to sidestep the Senate’s constitutional authority to advise and consent on critical national security positions.

The White House says Grenell "is committed to a nonpolitical, nonpartisan approach'' to the job.

Grenell is replacing Joseph Maguire, who’s been acting national intelligence director since August.

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