As Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns, yet another administration departure could be imminent.
President Trump has been telling confidants that he's "eager" to remove Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Axios reported on Friday. In fact, Trump has reportedly been saying he'd like to get rid of the entire Office of the Director of National Intelligence — or at least "downsize" it, since he's been told scrapping the whole office isn't possible.
Trump, according to this report, has been talking about potentially removing Coats for months, and indeed, speculation that Coats could be fired previously swirled in February. CNN reported in January that Trump "seethed" and went on a "rant" after seeing Coats contradict him by telling Congress that North Korea likely won't give up nuclear weapons capabilities. Axios cites a source as saying they got the impression from a recent discussion with Trump that Coats' removal will happen "sooner rather than later," with another source saying Trump "doesn't listen to" Coats anymore.
As far as a replacement, Axios reports that Trump has been considering former National Security Council Chief of Staff Frederick Fleitz, who the report points out in January advocated for Coats' firing on Lou Dobbs' show, a favorite of Trump's.
"I would let [Coats] go because of this," Fleitz said on the Fox Business show following Coats' North Korea testimony. "...Intelligence is to inform presidential policy. It's not supposed to undermine it. It's not supposed to second-guess presidential policy."
Coatson Friday pushed back on what he called "unsubstantiated, false rumors" in a statement provided to Axios that is identical to the one given when NBC News reported earlier this year that Coats came close to resigning in 2018 and had to be talked out of it by Vice President Mike Pence. The vice president at the time reportedly convinced Coats to stay "until at least this summer." Brendan Morrow
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's days in the Trump administration are numbered, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano believes.
Napolitano during a Fox & Friends segment on Thursday panned Acosta's recent press conference defending his role in cutting a generous plea deal for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, arguing the Labor secretary's performance was "not persuasive," Mediaite reports.
"I don't think he persuaded anybody that he did the right thing," Napolitano said, arguing Acosta "should have indicted" Epstein because he had a "tremendous amount of evidence against" him.
Acosta during Wednesday's press conference insisted his relationship with the White House couldn't be better and that he has President Trump's full support, but Napolitano isn't so sure about that. When asked to predict whether Acosta will last in the administration, Napolitano said he believes his departure is imminent.
"I don't think he'll be around by Friday," Napolitano said. "Well, tomorrow's Friday," Steve Doocy pointed out. "Yes," Napolitano responded.
After Acosta's press conference, Politico reported that Trump aides were happy with his performance and that he appeared to have saved his job, although it was still "unclear ... how long Trump will continue to stand by him." Brendan Morrow