Photo: J. Scott Applewhite (AP)

Following the abrupt departure of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Donald Trump has settled on Rep. John Ratcliffe as his successor, a move that immediately caused waves among both Republicans and Democrats over his lack of experience or even basic qualifications.

Let’s check back in—oh, yep, he’s a conspiracy theorist, too. As the Daily Beast reported Monday night:

Donald Trump’s new pick for director of national intelligence played a role last year in popularizing what briefly became one of the right’s most easily debunked conspiracy theories about the investigation into the president and Russia, offering what he presented as evidence of an anti-Trump “secret society” operating within the FBI.

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One of Ratcliffe’s biggest contributions to the Republican pushback on the investigation came in January 2018, when he claimed he had seen text messages between Page and Strzok that suggested the existence of a “secret society” working against Trump. But Ratcliffe’s claims, which were subsequently amplified by pro-Trump media outlets, fell apart when the fuller text exchanges became public.

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Good shit!! Extremely good shit for a man who may become the director of National Intelligence! Ratcliffe’s only real experience for the Cabinet-level job presiding over the U.S. intelligence community is that back in Texas, he’s claimed he served as the prosecutor in a high profile anti-terror case between 2004 and 2008. Ratcliffe has touted his role in the U.S. v Holy Land Foundation cases, one of which resulted in several convictions for individuals who were giving charity money to Hamas. (The first ended in mistrial). Let’s check how Ratcliffe’s involvement in that went. Per ABC News today (emphasis added throughout):

In a 2015 press release, Ratcliffe’s House website stated, “When serving by special appointment in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, he convicted individuals who were funneling money to Hamas behind the front of a charitable organization.”

His official campaign website, in a February 2016 post, also touted his “special appointment as the prosecutor in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, one of the nation’s largest terrorism financing cases.”

But ABC News could find no public court records that connect Ratcliffe to either of the two trials for the case. Former officials directly involved in the decade-long Holy Land Foundation investigation could not recall Ratcliffe having any role, and four former defense attorneys who served on the cases told ABC News on Monday they had no recollection of Ratcliffe being involved with any of the proceedings that resulted in the convictions of their clients.

In a statement to ABC News, Ratcliffe’s office clarified that his status regarding the case was instead related to investigating issues surrounding what led to the mistrial in the first case.

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Nice, lying about his prosecutorial record. Any further evidence he’s full of shit?

“The lead prosecutor was [U.S. Attorney] Jim Jacks,” said Matthew Levitt, a former FBI analyst who served as the government’s expert witness in both trials. “I met with him every time. But I was only there (at the trial) for my testimony. I don’t think I’ve ever met John Ratcliffe. I didn’t even think of [the trial] when his name came up for DNI — it didn’t even occur to me.”

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Great, expert witness pulls out a “who?” when asked about the guy who claims he ran the show.

Coats is expected to depart on Aug. 15, and Trump has yet to announce an acting head while Ratcliffe goes through the confirmation process, which in a normal world is designed for the express purpose of keeping people like him out of positions of power. We’ll see what the Republican-led Senate has to say about that.