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 CoatsDan CoatsThe Memo: GOP pushes Trump to curb Mueller attacks Merkley: Trump 'absolutely' tried to intimidate Comey Coats: Trump seemed obsessed with Russia probe 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 McConnellGOP senator: Dems should have been in healthcare process from start GOP senator under impression Trump doesn't have clear understanding of healthcare bill: report The Memo: Trump faces enormous test with healthcare bill 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 PaulThe Memo: Trump faces enormous test with healthcare bill Three more GOP senators announce opposition to healthcare bill Rand Paul: Trump 'open to making bill better' 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 goes on tweetstorm over GOP ObamaCare repeal bill Warren: Dems should campaign on single-payer healthcare plan Senate Dems step up protests ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Dem senator: Trump 'doesn't respect' the presidency MORE (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Ron WydenRon WydenSenators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan Overnight Tech: Black lawmakers press Uber on diversity | Google faces record EU fine | Snap taps new lobbyist | New details on FCC cyberattack FCC chairman reveals new details about cyberattack following John Oliver segment MORE (Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyWATCH LIVE: Senate Dems hold ‘People’s Filibuster’ against ObamaCare repeal Merkley: Trump 'absolutely' tried to intimidate Comey Overnight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief MORE (Ore.), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinMajor progressive group rolls out first incumbent House endorsement Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Overnight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief MORE (Wis.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate Democrats: ObamaCare repeal fight isn't over yet Bipartisan senators seek to boost expertise in military justice system Mattis gaining power in Trump’s Cabinet MORE (D-N.Y.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: FBI inquiry of wife is 'pathetic' attack Why UK millennials voting for socialism could happen here, too WATCH LIVE: Senate Dems hold ‘People’s Filibuster’ against ObamaCare repeal MORE (Vt.).

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonFood Network star honors veterans with dessert feast The Hill's Whip List: GOP undecided, 'no' votes pile up on ObamaCare repeal bill Georgia special election runoff: live coverage MORE (R-Ga.) was not present at the vote.