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Top Trump official John Ratcliffe is facing his first major test since the former Republican congressman's party-line confirmation last month as director of national intelligence.

With the president suggesting the alleged Russian intelligence scheme to pay bounties to Taliban fighters who kill US soldiers is a ¡°fabricated Russia Hoax¡± intended to ¡°make Republicans look bad,¡± he has thrust Mr Ratcliffe into a position that has gotten many Trump aides before him fired.

Mr Ratcliffe, a former Texas congressman whose history of partisanship had previously given pause to Senate Republicans and Democrats alike, can either prove his loyalty to Mr Trump by obfuscating the truth about the intel reports outlining the scheme, or he can directly refute the president¡¯s delusions that Russia, under the direction of Vladimir Putin, would never perpetrate such a plot.

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