GOVERNMENT

Promotion ahead for Utah Congressman?

Feb 12, 2020, 10:24 AM | Updated: 10:37 am
Stewart, Owens resign...
Rep. Chris Stewart and Rep. Burgess Owens are among 24 lawmakers to support the Securing Our Students Act. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — One Utah Congressman could be in line for a promotion that lands him in Washington.

A New York Times report indicates that Rep. Chris Stewart is a favorite among advisers in the Trump Administration. They’re pushing the president to consider Stewart to be the next director of national intelligence.

The report indicates that Robert O’Brien, current national security adviser, is leading the effort. The current acting intelligence chief must vacate their office by March 11.

Possible promotion

Utah Policy notes that Stewart has emerged as one of the most ardent defenders of the President in Congress.

It also isn’t the first time that rumors have circulated around Stewart about a promotion. He previously was considered a possible nominee for Air Force Secretary.

A spokesperson provided the following statement from Representative Stewart:

I am only focused on my work in Congress and serving the people of Utah’s Second District. I remain committed to representing my constituents and addressing the issues that first brought me to Congress, such as our debt and spending and rebuilding our military.”- Rep. Chris Stewart

The acting director of national intelligence is currently Joseph Maguire. He also is the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He assumed the acting director status when Dan Coats resigned in August.

Clock is ticking

The reason Maguire has to vacate on March 11 is because of a law that limits the duration of postings for acting cabinet-level officials.

The President’s early pick, Republican John Ratcliffe from Texas, withdrew in August.

Stewart has served longer on the Intelligence Committee than Ratcliffe and is also a retired Air Force officer.

He also strongly defended the President during impeachment hearings that focused on the President’s dealings with Ukraine. He also spoke out against how the Justice Department and F.B.I. handled an investigation into Trump’s campaign ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Specifically, he tore into former FBI director Robert Mueller.

“I have to be honest with you, for going on three years [now] innocent people have been accused of very serious crimes,” Stewart said. “They have had their lives disrupted and in some cases destroyed by false accusations for which there is absolutely no basis other than some people desperately wish that it was so.”

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Promotion ahead for Utah Congressman?