Former National Intelligence Director Coats Rejoins Law Firm

October 15, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — Former National Intelligence Director Dan Coats has rejoined the King & Spalding law firm and serves as a senior policy advisor on its D.C.-based national security team.

“Our clients around the world benefit from the insight of our team’s many former top government officials, who have the most current perspectives on how the U.S. government is approaching national security, trade, enforcement and regulations,” said King & Spalding chairman Robert D. Hays in a statement.

“Dan builds on that, with his ability to counsel clients who are making high-level strategic decisions and navigating evolving U.S. government expectations concerning national security protections,” the statement said.

Coats resigned from his position in the Trump White House in July after a tenure marked with tensions between him and the president.

After repeated clashes over administration policy regarding Russia, North Korea and other matters, Coats tendered his resignation.

At the time it was reported Coats had been among the last of Trump’s national security officials willing to contradict the president.

In retrospect, Coats got out just in time.

In late September, in his first public appearance since stepping down as national intelligence director, Coats told the Economic Club of Indiana that he missed being handed the whistleblower complaint at the center of the current impeachment drama by a matter of hours.

“Nothing came to me,” Coats said in response to a question from an attendee. “I left on Aug. 15. The very next day that was presented [to acting Director of National Intelligence Joe Maguire].

“I feel so bad for Joe,” Coats added. “He is caught in a squeeze here and the lawyers are divided. So they are trying to work all that out. That’s about all I can say about that.”

The whistleblower complaint concerns a phone call President Trump had July 25 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the president asks Ukraine’s leader to commence an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Asked a second time about the complaint, Coats said, “There’s much I can’t say.

“We’re in the secrets business … obviously there are a number of things going on relative to that and you’ve been reading about it in the paper and there’s speculation,” he said.

Coats declined to give an interview with the Indianapolis Star newspaper, which was the first news organization to report his comments.

His 30-minute appearance before the Economic Club had been scheduled weeks before the whistleblower controversy erupted.

At King & Spalding, Coats will advise clients about the rapidly evolving national security landscape and immediate implications for their businesses.  He also will help clients navigate the emerging tools and processes employed by the U.S. and other governments to mitigate national security threats.

And, as a former senior member of the Senate, he will help clients understand and navigate the congressional landscape, the firm said.

Coats has had a distinguished career in public service, having served as U.S. ambassador to Germany, as well as a U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative of Indiana.

From 2005-2010, Coats was counsel and then senior policy advisor at King & Spalding. After leaving the firm, he represented Indiana in the U.S. Senate and served on the Select Committee on Intelligence.

After leaving the Senate in 2017, Coats served as the Director of National Intelligence from 2017 until August of this year.

Wick Sollers, head of King & Spalding’s Government Matters practice group, of which the National Security team is a part, said “as a former Senator, diplomat and the point person on national intelligence, Dan has insight and relationships throughout the executive branch and on the Hill that will make a critical difference for our clients.”

“The opportunity to reconnect with peers in other practices and across industries made returning to King & Spalding an easy decision,” Coats said in a statement. “I am looking forward to partnering with others to leverage my knowledge of the intelligence community.”

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