Senate confirms Trump intelligence nominee, security adviser | Reuters
By Patricia Zengerle | WASHINGTON WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to confirm former Republican senator Dan Coats to be President Donald Trump's director of national intelligence and to approve Army Lieutenant General H.R
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to confirm former Republican senator Dan Coats to be President Donald Trump's director of national intelligence and to approve Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster's transfer to become his national security adviser.The vote was 85-12 to confirm Coats, who also served as ambassador to Germany under former President George W. Bush. Fifty-one votes were required for confirmation.The only Republican who voted against Coats was Senator Rand Paul, one of the Senate's leading privacy advocates, as are several of the Democrats who also voted against Coats. Democratic Senator Ron Wyden had said he would object to Coats' nomination because he felt the office of the Director of National Intelligence had not provided the committee with enough information about how many Americans' communication records had been subjected to government surveillance.
McMaster was approved as Trump's second national security adviser in an 86-10 vote. No Republican senator voted against him.McMaster had faced some opposition from Democratic senators who cited concerns about his past decision to allow two service members accused of assault to advance their careers while the case against them was open, in violation of Army regulations.
The Senate does not normally approve a president's national security adviser but McMaster's reappointment to his new position had to be considered by the Senate because he is an active-duty military officer.McMaster, 54, who is known for speaking his mind and challenging his superiors, replaces retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was fired as national security adviser on Feb. 13 after reports emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about speaking to Russia's ambassador to the United States about U.S. sanctions before Trump took office.
Coats, 73, replaces James Clapper, who retired as President Barack Obama left office in January.Coats was a member of the Senate's intelligence committee until he retired from the Senate at the end of last year. He pledged during his confirmation hearing on Feb. 28 to support a thorough investigation of any Russian effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Trott)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.