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Trump names Germany ambassador Grenell as top intelligence advisor

President Donald Trump on Wednesday named the current ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, as his top intelligence advisor, immediately drawing criticism that the politically outspoken figure is unsuited to such a sensitive position.

Trump names Germany ambassador Grenell as top intelligence advisor
Richard Grenell speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 2nd. Photo: DPA

Grenell was named acting director of national intelligence, a temporary status which means he will not face a Senate confirmation process unless Trump puts him forward for a permanent position.

READ ALSO: What you should know about Trump's new ambassador to Germany

He takes over from Joseph Maguire, a retired admiral whose status as acting director was due to expire in March.

Trump tweeted that Grenell “has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him. I would like to thank Joe Maguire for the wonderful job he has done, and we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!”

The director of national intelligence, often referred to as the DNI, oversees the sprawling US espionage and intelligence apparatus and reports directly to the president.

Grenell, an outspoken ambassador in Germany, will be the first openly gay member of the Trump cabinet.

He has caused a stir during his diplomatic service, acting as an enforcer of Trump's policies on Iran, China and other issues where European capitals don't always see eye to eye with the White House.

Last year he faced calls for his expulsion, shortly after taking up his post in Germany, when he spoke up in support of right-wing politicians in Europe.

READ ALSO: 'Die Linke' demands Berlin expel outspoken U.S. ambassador

Trump, however, reportedly sees Grenell as a loyalist, helping him to reassert himself following acquittal in his historic impeachment trial in Congress and ahead of the November presidential election.

Samantha Powers, a UN ambassador under Barack Obama's presidency, tweeted that the appointment of someone so openly political to the intelligence post “would be a travesty.”

Democratic Senator Mark Warner said in a statement that “the President has selected an individual without any intelligence experience to serve as the leader of the nation's intelligence community in an acting capacity.”

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DEUTSCHE BANK

Deutsche Bank set ‘to cut ties with Trump’

Deutsche Bank will cease its longstanding relationship with outgoing US president Donald Trump, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Deutsche Bank set 'to cut ties with Trump'
Deutsche Bank's headquarters in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bank was Trump's primary lender for two decades, and he owes the institution more than $300 million, according to the newspaper, which cited an unnamed source as saying the German lender “has decided not to do business with Mr. Trump or his company in the future.”

Deutsche Bank declined to comment to AFP.

The move comes on the heels of last week's violent attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters at the president's incitement, and follows steps taken by other companies to cut ties with Trump and his businesses.

READ ALSO: Trump under investigation for Deutsche Bank ties

Christiana Riley, head of Deutsche Bank's US division, called the violent
siege on the Capital “a dark day for America and our democracy” in a post on LinkedIn last week.

“We are proud of our Constitution and stand by those who seek to uphold it to ensure that the will of the people is upheld and a peaceful transition of power takes place,” Riley said.

“It is my hope that these shocking events will result in a reinvigoration
of the principles our nation was built upon.”

Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank has sparked numerous probes in the United States, including in New York, where the Manhattan District Attorney is investigating whether Trump committed financial crimes as he sought loans.

READ ALSO: 'Worlds between us': What Trump's German family's town thinks of him today

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