Daniel Ray Coats (born May 16, 1943) is an American politician and former diplomat. Since 16 March 2017, he has served as the Director of National Intelligence in the Trump Administration. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a United States Senator from Indiana from 1989 to 1999 and again from 2011 to 2017. He was the United States Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005, and was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1989. Coats served on the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence while in the U.S. Senate.
|5th Director of National Intelligence|
| Assumed office |
March 16, 2017
|Deputy||Susan M. Gordon|
|Preceded by||James Clapper|
|Chair of the Joint Economic Committee|
| In office |
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Kevin Brady|
|Succeeded by||Pat Tiberi|
|United States Senator|
| In office |
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Evan Bayh|
|Succeeded by||Todd Young|
| In office |
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1999
|Appointed by||Robert D. Orr|
|Preceded by||Dan Quayle|
|Succeeded by||Evan Bayh|
|United States Ambassador to Germany|
| In office |
August 15, 2001 – February 28, 2005
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||John C. Kornblum|
|Succeeded by||William R. Timken|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Indiana's 4th district
| In office |
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1989
|Preceded by||Dan Quayle|
|Succeeded by||Jill Long Thompson|
Daniel Ray Coats
( 1943-05-16 ) May 16, 1943 (age 75)
Jackson, Michigan, U.S.
|Education|| Wheaton College, Illinois (BA) |
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (JD)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1966–1968|
Born in Jackson, Michigan, Coats graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He served in the U.S. Army (1966–1968). Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Coats was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Indiana's 4th congressional district from 1981 to 1989. He was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Dan Quayle following Quayle's election as Vice President of the United States. Coats won the 1990 special election to serve the remainder of Quayle's unexpired term, as well as the 1992 election for a full six-year term. He did not seek reelection in 1998 and was succeeded by Democrat Evan Bayh.
After retiring from the Senate, Coats served as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005 and then worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He was reelected to the Senate by a large margin in 2010, succeeding Bayh, who announced his own retirement shortly after Coats declared his candidacy. Coats declined to run for reelection in 2016 and was succeeded by Todd Young.
On January 5, 2017, Coats was announced as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for the post of Director of National Intelligence, to succeed James R. Clapper. His term in office commenced on March 16, 2017.
Coats was born in Jackson, Michigan, the son of Vera (Nora) Elisabeth (née Swanlund) and Edward Raymond Coats. His father was of English and German descent, and his maternal grandparents emigrated from Sweden. Coats attended local public schools, and graduated from Jackson High School in 1961. He then studied at Wheaton College in Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1965. At Wheaton, he was an active student athlete on the soccer team. He served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers from 1966 to 1968, and earned a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis in 1972, where he was also the associate editor of the Indiana Law Review. He also served as assistant vice president of a Fort Wayne life insurance company.
When Quayle resigned from the Senate after being elected Vice President of the United States in 1988, Coats was appointed to Quayle's former seat. Coats was subsequently elected to the seat in 1990 and 1992. Coats declined to run for a second full term in 1998. He served in the Senate until January 1999, at which time he was succeeded by Evan Bayh. Coats announced on February 3, 2010, he would run for his old Senate seat and on February 16, 2010, Bayh announced his intention to retire. Coats went on to win the seat. In March 2015 he announced that he would not run for re-election in 2016. He served on the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
On multiple occasions, Coats has supported gun control measures. In 1991, he voted in favor of the Biden-Thurmond Violent Crime Control Act of 1991. This act, which did not become law, would have created a waiting period for handgun purchases and placed a ban on assault weapons. Subsequently, he supported the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that President Clinton signed into law in 1993. The legislation imposed a waiting period before a handgun could be transferred to an individual by a licensed dealer, importer, or manufacturer. This waiting period ended when the computerized instant check system came online. Coats also supported Feinstein Amendment 1152 to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993. The purpose of the Feinstein Amendment was to "restrict the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices".
In April 2013, Coats was one of forty-six senators to vote against passage of a bill which would have expanded background checks for gun buyers. Coats voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the passage of the bill.
In 1995, Coats introduced S. 568: Family, Investment, Retirement, Savings, and Tax Fairness Act which would provide "family tax credits, increase national savings through individual retirement plus accounts, indexing for inflation the income thresholds for taxing social security benefits, etc". The bill did not become law.
In 1993, Coats emerged as an opponent of President Clinton's effort to allow LGBT individuals to serve openly in the armed forces. Coats was one of the authors of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and opposed its 2011 repeal. He does not support same-sex marriage but opposes interference with "alternative lifestyles".
Coats pressed President Barack Obama to punish Russia harshly for its March 2014 annexation of Crimea. For this stance, the Russian government banned Coats and several other U.S. lawmakers from traveling to Russia.
Coats co-sponsored the Taylor Force Act. The legislation proposes to stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops payments to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists.
Coats co-sponsored, with former Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, and James Jeffords, S.2206: Coats Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998. This bill, which was enacted into law, "amended the Head Start Act, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, and the Community Services Block Grant Act... in order to provide an opportunity for persons with limited means to accumulate assets."
In 1996, Coats co-sponsored the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, which President Clinton signed into law. The bill allowed the President to "rewrit[e] legislation by vetoing single items of spending or specific tax breaks approved by Congress." In June 1998, The Supreme Court of the United States declared the law unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York in a 6–3 decision.
Coats made headlines in August 1998, when he publicly questioned the timing of President Bill Clinton's cruise missile attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan, suggesting they might be linked to the Lewinsky scandal: "While there is clearly much more we need to learn about this attack and why it was ordered today, given the president’s personal difficulties this week, it is legitimate to question the timing of this action."
Official portrait of Senator Coats, 2011
Coats worked as Special Counsel member in the firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand in 2000 and 2001. In 2001, Coats was reportedly one of George W. Bush’s top choices to be Secretary of Defense, a job eventually given to Donald Rumsfeld who had previously held the post under President Gerald Ford.
From August 15, 2001, to February 28, 2005, Coats was the United States Ambassador to Germany. As ambassador during the lead-up to the Iraq War, he pressured the German government not to oppose the war, threatening worsened US relations with Germany. As Ambassador he also played a critical role in establishing robust relations with then opposition leader Angela Merkel and in the construction of a new United States Embassy in the heart of Berlin next to the Brandenburg Gate.
In 2005, Coats drew attention when he was chosen by President George W. Bush to shepherd Harriet Miers's failed nomination to the Supreme Court through the Senate. Echoing Senator Roman Hruska's famous 1970 speech in defense of Harrold Carswell, Coats said to CNN regarding the nomination: "If [being a] great intellectual powerhouse is a qualification to be a member of the court and represent the American people and the wishes of the American people and to interpret the Constitution, then I think we have a court so skewed on the intellectual side that we may not be getting representation of America as a whole."
In 2007, Coats served as co-chairman of a team of lobbyists for Cooper Industries, a Texas corporation that moved its principal place of business to Bermuda, where it would not be liable for U.S. taxes. In that role, he worked to block Senate legislation that would have closed a tax loophole, worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Cooper Industries.
Coats being sworn in as Director of National Intelligence by Vice PresidentMike Pence
on March 16, 2017
On January 5, 2017, Coats was announced as then-President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for the position of Director of National Intelligence, to succeed the near outgoing James R. Clapper. His confirmation hearing was held on February 28, 2017 to the United States Senate Intelligence Committee.
On March 9, 2017, the United States Senate Intelligence Committee approved the nomination of Coats as National Intelligence Director with a 13–2 vote. The Senate confirmed his nomination with an 85–12 vote on March 15, 2017, and he was sworn into office on March 16.
On July 16, 2018, Coats released a statement affirming the consensus of the United States Intelligence Community (IC) that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a day after the 2018 Russia–United States summit where President Trump recanted his endorsement of the IC's assessment.
On September 6, 2018 Director Coats denied that he had authored the anonymous New York Times Op/Ed piece from a Senior Trump Administration official that berated the President. The day before, MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell had speculated that Coats was the author of the controversial anonymous piece.
Coats released the DNI's "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community" on January 29, 2019, listing the major threats to the United States. The reports states that the "international system is coming under increasing strain amid continuing cyber and WMD proliferation threats, competition in space, and regional conflicts. Among the disturbing trends are hostile states and actors’ intensifying online efforts to influence and interfere with elections here and abroad and their use of chemical weapons. Terrorism too will continue to be a top threat to US and partner interests worldwide, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.[Notes 1] The development and application of new technologies will introduce both risks and opportunities, and the US economy will be challenged by slower global economic growth and growing threats to US economic competitiveness.": 4
Coats in his first tenure in Congress
On February 10, 2010, Coats confirmed that he would return to Indiana to run for the seat held by incumbent Evan Bayh in the 2010 United States Senate election. Bayh had made no previous announcements and was fully expected to run for another term, but after Coats announced his candidacy, Bayh announced his retirement on February 15, 2010. On May 4, 2010, Coats won the Republican primary over state Sen. Marlin Stutzman and former Congressman John Hostettler.
Coats became the senior senator from Indiana after Richard Lugar lost a challenge in the 2012 Republican primary election and subsequently was not re-elected to the Senate in 2012. Coats served the remainder of his term with Democrat Joe Donnelly.
He is married to Marsha Coats, Indiana's woman representative to the Republican National Committee.