The Latest: Trump's intelligence director pick withdraws

WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump's pick for national intelligence director (all times local):

7:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump's pick for national intelligence director, Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, has withdrawn from consideration after just five days of growing questions about his experience and qualifications.

Democrats had openly dismissed the Republican congressman as an unqualified partisan and Republicans offered only lukewarm and tentative expressions of support.

The announcement leaves the intelligence community without a permanent, Senate-confirmed leader at a time when the U.S. government is grappling with North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the prospect of war with Iran and the anticipated efforts of Russia or other foreign governments to interference in the American political system.

Trump says Ratcliffe decided to stay in Congress so as to avoid "months of slander and libel."

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3:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he thinks the confirmation process for his nominee for director of national intelligence would have been a "long, hard slog."

Trump told reporters Friday before leaving Washington that John Ratcliffe is an "outstanding man," and said he was treated unfairly by the press.

Trump says he will be reviewing three other candidates this weekend to succeed Dan Coats, who resigned last week.Ratcliffe, a Republican congressman from Texas and a Trump loyalist, had been criticized for exaggerating elements of his resume and for a lack of experience in the field of intelligence. The director of national intelligence oversees more than 15 U.S. intelligence agencies.

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3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump's pick for national intelligence director, Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe, has withdrawn from consideration amid concerns in Congress about his experience and qualifications.

The move comes just five days after Trump announced plans to nominate Ratcliffe.

Democrats openly dismissed the Republican congressman as an unqualified partisan and Republicans offered only lukewarm and tentative expressions of support.

The announcement leaves the intelligence community without a permanent, Senate-confirmed leader at a time when the U.S. government is grappling with North Korea's nuclear capabilities, the prospect of war with Iran and the anticipated efforts of Russia or other foreign governments to interfere in the American political system.

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This story has been corrected to ... Updates with wrap.

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