Senate advances Coats as national intel chief

Senate advances Coats as national intel chief
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The Senate on Wednesday voted to move forward with former Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsThe Hill's 12:30 Report DOJ warns the media could be targeted in crackdown on leaks Conway: Leaks of Trump's calls should have 'chilling effect' MORE's (R-Ind.) nomination to serve as President Trump's director of national intelligence.

Senators voted 88-11 to end debate on his nomination, with only a simple majority needed to move forward.

With the Senate expected to leave town Wednesday, Democrats could use the Senate's rulebook to delay a final vote until next week.

But Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (R-Ky.) is signaling that he expects Coats to get a confirmation vote later Wednesday. 

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"We're going to wrap up three items here in the Senate during this short week. We're going to do another Congressional Review Act," McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference. "We're going to confirm Dan Coats and we're going to deal with General McMaster's promotion."

Coats is well liked by his former colleagues and is expected to sail through a final vote. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted late last week to send his nomination to the floor, with only two senators voting against him. 

McConnell praised Coats ahead of the vote, calling him an "excellent choice." 

"A few short months ago our colleague, Dan Coats, retired from his post here in the Senate. At that time I had a chance to reflect on our friend's impressive career and I noted that we could expect him to rise to the occasion if called to serve his country once again," he added. 

Trump nominated the former GOP senator, who retired at the end of 2016, for the post in January, giving him control of the intelligence community's 16 agencies if confirmed. 

His confirmation hearing was largely drama-free, though some lawmakers questioned if he was too nice for the role and if he could break through Trump's tight circle of advisers. 

Coats pledged during the hearing that he would push back against Trump if needed and had been reassured that he would be "welcome and needed" as part of the White House National Security Council's Principals Committee. 

“I have been reassured time and time and time again by the president and his advisers that I am welcome and needed and expected to be part of the Principals Committee,” Coats said during his hearing.

Trump reshuffled the Principals Committee of the National Security Council earlier this year. Under that order, Coats would only attend meetings when issues pertinent to his responsibilities are discussed.

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulCurtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz Glimmer of hope in bipartisan criminal justice reform effort Trump barrage stuns McConnell and his allies MORE (R-Ky.) was the sole Republican to oppose Coats. Other no votes were by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren: Education Dept lawyer may have violated conflict-of-interest laws Congress should think twice on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Sanders plans to introduce single-payer bill in September MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Dem: Trump has to stop ‘reckless’ language on North Korea Trump sparks debate over war resolution for North Korea Foreign Relations Dem: North Korea is the modern-day Cuban missile crisis MORE (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Ron WydenRon WydenTrump's Democratic tax dilemma Senate Dems push Trump admin to protect nursing home residents' right to sue Overnight Finance: Trump-Russia probe reportedly expands to possible financial crimes | Cruel September looms for GOP | Senate clears financial nominees | Mulvaney reverses on debt ceiling MORE (Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyPresident Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Senators push federal prisons to expand compassionate release Senate confirms Trump's new FBI director MORE (Ore.), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinClub for Growth endorses Nicholson in Wisconsin GOP primary Senate Dems unveil trade agenda Group pushes FDA to act on soy milk labeling petition MORE (Wis.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDon’t let Congress amend the First Amendment Sanders plans to introduce single-payer bill in September Trump considering Giuliani law partner for US attorney in New York: report MORE (D-N.Y.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersThe media couldn't be more blatant in distorting Trump's words on Charlottesville Road to renewable energy is filled with potholes of ‘magic thinking’ Bernie Sanders: Trump’s Charlottesville comments ‘embarrassing’ MORE (Vt.).

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump signs Veterans Affairs bill at New Jersey golf club No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Savings through success in foreign assistance MORE (R-Ga.) was not present at the vote.