Key Republican senator says he'll back Ratcliffe for intel chief

“I’m supportive of John Ratcliffe. That’s what the statement said. Period,” Burr said, pushing back on suggestions that the statement he released Friday after Trump’s announcement was unclear.

Asked what changed from last year when Ratcliffe was first nominated and GOP senators had concerns then, Burr said: “There was a different pathway in the Senate. I don’t think anybody has changed their opinion of John Ratcliffe. What changed is the pathway to get somebody confirmed. If Democrats want to vote against him and have (Richard) Grenell stay on as acting is fine with me.”

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday withheld his judgment on Ratcliffe as the DNI nominee, saying he would wait to see how the Texas Republican performs during his confirmation proceedings before the Senate Intelligence Committee.