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CIA Chief Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelBiden announces veteran diplomat William Burns as nominee for CIA director Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community White House counsel's office advised Trump against firing FBI director: report MORE threatened to resign over talk that President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE would make Kash Patel, a loyalist to the president and former aide to Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesBill Belichick turns down Medal of Freedom from Trump Trump gives Medal of Freedom to House ally Jim Jordan Trump plans to award Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom MORE (R-Calif.), deputy director of the agency, Axios reports.
Three top Trump administration officials familiar with the plan claim that the paperwork that would have formalized Patel's position in the CIA had been finalized in early December.
The plan came as speculation was swirling over whether Haspel would be fired, which was further fueled by her absence at the president’s daily intelligence briefings.
Haspel attended such a briefing on Dec. 11, during which her performance reportedly caused Trump to change his mind. By then, word had already spread and Haspel had been made aware of the possible appointment, according to Axios.
Axios reports that the idea to name Patel as CIA deputy arose from Trump's growing distrust of Haspel over the last year. Trump figured that if he forced out current CIA Deputy Director Vaughn Bishop and replaced him with Patel, Haspel would resign, therefore making Patel the CIA's acting director, according to Axios.
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