In one of the less contentious Senate confirmation votes, President Trump’s choice of Dan Coats to head the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) was confirmed relatively easily by Congress’ upper chamber on Wednesday.
Rivaling Labor Department pick Elaine Cho, who earned approval 93–6, the former Indiana senator breezed through the Senate by a vote of 85–12.
Coats’ confirmation was virtually assured earlier in the day when senators overwhelmingly voted to limit debate on his suitability for the job prior to a final vote.
Commenting on his 34 years as a public servant, Coats admitted he was easing back into private life after a career in both the House and Senate when asked by Mr. Trump to serve again, and added:
“It has been a long road of public service that has brought me here before you. After 34 years of service in the House, Senate, and as U.S. Ambassador to Germany, I was ready to make a transition and planned to move on to a new chapter of my lifelong journey back home again in Indiana. But as I have learned over those 34 years, life doesn’t always work out that way.”
A Michigan native, Coats, 73, earned a B.A. in government from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., in 1965. Following two years serving in the U.S. Army, Coats obtained his J.D. from Indiana University in 1972.
An aide to then-Indiana Congressman Dan Quayle, Coats ran for and won Quayle’s House seat, touching off his political career. In 1988, Coats was appointed to fill the remainder of Quayle’s Senate term when Quayle became vice president under George H.W. Bush.
Coats was returned to the Senate in a 1990 special election and returned in his own right in 1992, serving until 1999 when he announced his retirement.
Briefly considered for the top job at the Defense Department under President George W. Bush, Coats lost out to eventual Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and turned to private legal practice with Piper Rudnick, now known as DLA Piper.
President Bush later nominated Coats to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Germany, a position he held until 2005.
Returning home, Coats assumed roles with various firms, most notably as a lobbyist with Cooper Industries and later with Washington law firm, King & Spalding LLP.
Coaxed out of retirement by the Indiana Republican Party, Coats ran for and won reelection from the Hoosier state in 2010, taking retiring Democrat Evan Bayh’s seat. He served again in the Senate until January, when he was nominated by President Trump to succeed James Clapper as leader of ODNI.
In his new role, Coats is responsible for overseeing 16 intelligence services, including the NSA, CIA and the intelligence apparatuses of all four military service branches.
[RT America] [Roll Call] [Photo courtesy Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP via Talking Points Memo]