President Trump is considering replacing Dan Coats as head of national intelligence and holding informal meetings with potential candidates, said national security sources to Fox News.
Sources told Fox News that Trump talked to two people over the past week about jobs. Among the candidates he is considering are Gen. Joseph Dunford, former chairman of the joint chiefs, and Fred Fleitz, who previously served as chief legal counsel for National Security Adviser John Bolton.
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Trump took up the opportunity to work with Fleitz as far back as February and asked if he was interested but did not offer him officially. It is unclear how many other potential candidates can be in the mix.
According to Axios, who reported that Trump is "eager to remove Coats, Coats became angry with the president when he seemed to criticize his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell.
He also told a Senate panel in January that North Korea was not likely to give up its nuclear weapons, which contradicts preaching from the president. One source told Axios that Trump believes that ODNI is an unnecessarily bureaucratic stock and would like to "reduce" the office.
In a statement to the outlet, Coat expressed frustration in the reports.
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"I am focused on doing my job and it is frustrating to repeatedly be asked to respond to anonymous sources and unstopped, often false rumors that undermine the Critical Work of the Intelligence Community and its relationship with the president, "he said.
"I am proud to lead an IC specifically focused on the important mission of providing rapid and impartial intelligence to President Trump, Vice President Pence and the National Security Group in support of the security of our nation," he said.
Fox News & # 39; Adam Shaw contributed to this report.