>> The 76->> As America's top spy, James Clapper crosses swords with Donald Trump over the Russia hacking case. The President-elect settling on Clapper's replacement, turning to former Indiana Senator Dan Coats to oversee the United States' sprawling intelligence community when he takes office.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington.
As it turns out, Coats is no friend of Russia. Putin barred him from the country after he criticized the invasion of Crimea in 2014. He's a strong supporter of government surveillance programs, and he's endorsed the CIA's use of torture at secret prisons.>> We'll be facing.>> Assuming he wins confirmation, a top priority will be repairing whatever damage Trump himself has inflicted on the morale of the spy services.
He's repeatedly mocked the intelligence community's assessment that Vladimir Putin's Russia is the culprit behind last year's election hacks. Saying, quote, these are the guys who told us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Some US intelligence officials saying on Thursday they hope the Coats pick is a sign that Trump is seeking to mend fences.
One official saying he hopes Coats can negotiate a truce between the intelligence community and Mike Flynn, Trump's choice for National Security Advisor. Flynn was ousted from his last job as Head of the Defense Intelligence Agency by Clapper. Coats will probably have an easier time winning confirmation from his former colleagues in the Senate than some of Trump's more controversial cabinet pics.
He's a centrist Republican who's well within the party's mainstream