Dan Coats in Trump Tower
Dan Coats speaks to press in Trump tower Getty

Donald Trump is set to tap former Republican senator Dan Coats as his pick for Director of National Intelligence, according to reports on Thursday (5 January).

The widely expected pick comes as sources told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that the President-elect is planning to overhaul the very office that Coats would be leading.

The 73-year-old former senator from Indiana served between 1989-99 and then from 2011 until 2017, before deciding not to run for re-election.

Coats is a vocal critic of Russia and Vladimir Putin, having been banned from the country in 2014 for supporting sanctions after the annexation of Crimea.

Trump and the intelligence community, which will be overseen by Coats in his role leading the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), have not fostered a warm relationship in the days running up to his inauguration. Reports from the CIA that Russia attempted to interfere with the US election to help Trump win have been branded "ridiculous" by the incoming leader.

The ODNI was created after the 9/11 attacks and is tasked with coordinating the 16 US intelligence agencies.

The decision to choose someone openly critical of Russia may help Trump's standing with those worried about his relationship and stance toward the Kremlin - particularly after he picked former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. Tillerson is said to have a close personal relationship with President Putin.

Coats has served on the senate intelligence committee and was the US Ambassador to Germany between 2001 to 2005, under then-President George W Bush. Coats will have to undergo a senate confirmation hearing before he takes office, the date of which has not yet been announced.