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WASHINGTON — Sue Gordon, a career CIA official who is serving as the principal deputy director of national intelligence, told the White House she would leave her job on Thursday after she learned she would be passed over as director of national intelligence.

Susan Gordon, the principal deputy director of national intelligence.Office of the Director of National Intelligence

In a handwritten note to President Donald Trump, Gordon wrote: “Mr. President — I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference. You should have your team. Godspeed, Sue.”

Trump on Twitter called Gordon “a great professional with a long and distinguished career” for whom he had “developed great respect.” In a second tweet, he said her departure coincided with the retirement of National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, whose planned exit on Aug. 15 was previously announced.

Trump named Joseph Maguire, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, as acting director of national intelligence.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News that Coats had recommended that Gordon replace him but that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told him the White House had someone else in mind.

Page 1 of PDDNI Gordon Resignation

When Coats told that to Gordon, she felt she had no choice but to hand in her resignation, the source said.

Coats praised Gordon, calling her a “visionary leader who has made an enormous impact” on the intelligence community. He also praised Maguire as having had “a long, distinguished career serving the nation.”

Gordon’s departure may raise the hackles of both Republican and Democratic senators, who supported her vigorously. The source said she had recently assured Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the committee, that she would stay on and serve as acting director.

Warner praised Gordon in a statement, calling her departure “a great loss not only to the intelligence community, but to the country.” He also sharply criticized Trump.

“President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is seemingly incapable of hearing facts that contradict his own views,” Warner said. “The mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power; Yet in pushing out two dedicated public servants in as many weeks, once again the President has shown that he has no problem prioritizing his political ego even if it comes at the expense of our national security.”

Joseph Maguire testifies on Capitol Hill.Al Drago / Getty Images file

Burr said in a statement: “Sue Gordon’s retirement is a significant loss for our Intelligence Community. In more than three decades of public service, Sue earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues with her patriotism and vision. She has been a stalwart partner to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I will miss her candor and deep knowledge of the issues. I look forward to seeing what new challenges she will tackle next.”

Trump had previously hoped to install Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, as intelligence director, but Ratcliffe’s nomination was withdrawn after NBC News reported that he had overstated his experience prosecuting terrorism and amid objections from members of Congress from both parties.

Gordon started with the CIA in the 1980s. Earlier this decade, she was the CIA’s director of support and then became the CIA’s first cyber-czar in 2013. She was named to her current post in January 2015 by President Barack Obama.

Following Ratcliffe’s withdrawal, a bipartisan push began to emerge in support of Gordon, who is widely respected both on Capitol Hill and in the president’s orbit for her decades of experience in the intelligence community.

While one current and one former U.S. official familiar with the matter said the White House had been planning to prevent Gordon from stepping into Coats’ role in an acting capacity, the president seemed to warm to the idea.

Sue Gordon is there now, and I like her very much,” he said on Friday. “Certainly she will be considered for the acting” job.

Coats and Gordon oversaw the country’s intelligence community, including the CIA and the National Security Agency, and advised the president on national security and intelligence matters.

Robert Windrem contributed.



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Politics

Pentagon says visits to Trump’s Scotland resort cost nearly $200,000

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. military spent almost $200,000 at Trump Turnberry between 2017 to 2019, according to documents that the Pentagon sent to Congress.

In a letter dated Sept. 12 to the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating military spending at Turnberry, the Pentagon acknowledged it had spent just over $184,000 at the president’s Scottish resort. That sum included $124,579 in lodging and $59,730 in unidentified additional expenditures between August 9, 2017 to July 26, 2019. The average cost of a room was $189 a night, the Pentagon said.

In the two years prior, the Air Force spent about $64,000 at the hotel, according to the Pentagon.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., responded to the revelations in a statement on Wednesday, saying “it appears that U.S. taxpayer funds were used to purchase the equivalent of more than 650 rooms at the Trump Turnberry just since August 2017— or the equivalent of one room every night for more than one-and-a-half years.”

The lawmakers called the Pentagon’s disclosures “woefully inadequate,” noting they failed to produce “any underlying invoices or travel records relating to spending” at the resort or at the local airport.

The committee first asked for the information in June. News of Air Force stays at the resort were first reported by Politico earlier this month.

According to the Washington Post, Trump’s Scottish resort lost around $4.5 million in 2017. But as Politico reported, the resort’s revenue increased by $3.1 million the following year.

The Pentagon also acknowledged that the Air Force had spent $16 million on fuel expenditures at Prestwick Airport between Jan. 20, 2017 and June 21, 2019.

“Although the Department asserted that it paid $3.38 per gallon for fuel, it did not provide any information on contemporaneous fuel rates at non-commercial sites, such as military bases elsewhere in Europe,” Cummings and Raskin said.

The Democratic lawmakers have said that the airport has lost millions of dollars in revenue in recent years, and its existence is crucial to the golf resort’s survival. The airport has also offered discounts and free rounds of golf to members of the U.S. military, they said, citing the Guardian.

The Oversight Committee is investigating whether the arrangement violates a clause in the Constitution which bars an office holder from profiting from their positions. The panel set a new deadline of Sept. 27 for the Pentagon to produce all invoices, contracts, agreements, and internal and external communications involving the arrangement.



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Election 2019 polls tracker: Tories hold strong lead as Lib Dems take out Labour

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TORIES hold a strong lead as the Liberal Democrats take out Labour as the second biggest party, a voting intention poll has revealed.

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Trump’s border visit draws few spectators, for or against his wall

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SAN DIEGO – President Donald Trump’s visit to the border with Mexico here was attended by only a handful of supporters and protesters, some saying a border wall would protect the nation and others that it won’t address the area’s real problem of smuggling tunnels.

Trump’s stop in the Otay Mesa community was announced Monday night, leaving little time to plan organized events for his 3 p.m. arrival. The first time he came to this neighborhood, in early 2018, dozens of anti-Trump protesters shouted at the president from both sides of the border.

A few die-hard Trump fans were there Wednesday wearing red and donning “Make America Great Again” and “USA” baseball caps.

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Supporter Danny Duran had an American flag draped over his shoulders as the president’s motorcade of armored Chevrolet Suburban SUVs rolled by en route to a dirt road that would take him to a section of upgraded border barriers, unveiled last month.

The wall, Duran said, is “good for his campaign, but it’s good for America.”

Though the barrier is part of a long-planned fence replacement, Duran was convinced this was Trump’s wall.

“We need the wall,” he said. “Why not protect our country? I got a fence on my property.”

The Trump well-wishers were confined to a neighborhood of industrial parks about a half mile from the president’s appearance at the border.

Some of the Trump supporters there didn’t want to talk to reporters for fear of having their words misconstrued — one called a reporter “fake news” — or because they believed it would endanger their families.

Duran, a Latino who speaks Spanish, was proud to speak out. “I don’g agree with everything Trump says,” he said, “but he’s doing a good job.”

Luis Garcia, who owns a packaging supplies business nearby, wasn’t as enthused. He said the president’s past threats to shut down the border and place tariffs on some Mexican goods has been bad news for a border economy dependent on trade between both nations.

“I’m from the border,” he said. “I deal with both countries. People here don’t like the president.”

A border wall won’t stop legitimate trade, he said, but neither would it protect the Otay Mesa community from its true scourge — tunnels that run from Mexico to warehouses here and attract cartel traffic — he said. They’ve been used to ship drugs wholesale into the United States.

“It makes no sense,” Garcia said of Trump’s wall. “The wall doesn’t work. It’s a campaign tactic.”

Trump wrapped up a two-day trip to California that included campaign fundraisers in San Francisco, Beverly Hills and San Diego.

The $147-million replacement barrier he observed Wednesday runs for 14 miles from Imperial Beach to Otay Mesa.

Trump plans to use $3.6 billion earmarked for the Pentagon to help construct 175 miles of wall along the southern border.

Last year Trump vowed that a new border wall would stop 99 percent of unauthorized crossings along the border at San Diego.

“Now we have a world class security system at the border,” Trump said Wednesday.

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