Now playing
02:17
Phil Mudd: There's something else afoot here
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks to reporters as she arrives for the continuation of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. The next phase of the trial, in which senators will be allowed to ask written questions, will extend into tomorrow. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks to reporters as she arrives for the continuation of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. The next phase of the trial, in which senators will be allowed to ask written questions, will extend into tomorrow. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:08
Murkowski explains why she's voting for Biden nominee
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the White House in Washington, after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the White House in Washington, after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Now playing
03:01
'A step forward': Biden speaks after Chauvin's guilty verdict
CNN's Eli Honig explains how much time former police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, could face after he was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case of George Floyd.
CNN
CNN's Eli Honig explains how much time former police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, could face after he was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case of George Floyd.
Now playing
03:25
Here's the sentence Derek Chauvin could face after guilty verdict
CNN's Van Jones reacts to Attorney General Merrick Garland's announcement that the Justice Department has launched a federal civil probe into policing practices in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd and the murder convictions for ex-cop Derek Chauvin.
CNN
CNN's Van Jones reacts to Attorney General Merrick Garland's announcement that the Justice Department has launched a federal civil probe into policing practices in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd and the murder convictions for ex-cop Derek Chauvin.
Now playing
03:08
Van Jones reacts to Justice Department's Minneapolis police probe
CNN
Now playing
03:14
'Performative outrage': Avlon on GOP backlash to Rep. Waters
Two Honduran children found clinging to an island surrounded by a powerful current in the Rio Grande were rescued by Border Patrol agents and taken into custody, the region's top border official said, the latest example of the dangers migrants face as a growing number desperately attempt to reach the US.
U.S. Border Patrol
Two Honduran children found clinging to an island surrounded by a powerful current in the Rio Grande were rescued by Border Patrol agents and taken into custody, the region's top border official said, the latest example of the dangers migrants face as a growing number desperately attempt to reach the US.
Now playing
02:22
See Border Patrol rescue 2 migrant children in Rio Grande
Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images
Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
02:59
Enten: Biden is focused on what Americans care about
CNN
Now playing
02:40
Biden says he's praying for 'right verdict' in Chauvin trial
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 6:  Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale concedes the election to his Republican opponent Norm Coleman November 6, 2002 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mondale and Coleman were in a race for U.S. Senate that was too close to call the evening before.  (Photo by Mark Erickson/Getty Images)
Mark Erickson/Getty Images
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 6: Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale concedes the election to his Republican opponent Norm Coleman November 6, 2002 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mondale and Coleman were in a race for U.S. Senate that was too close to call the evening before. (Photo by Mark Erickson/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:00
Walter Mondale dies at 93
george w bush congress immigration rhetoric cbs intv sot mxp vpx_00000000.png
george w bush congress immigration rhetoric cbs intv sot mxp vpx_00000000.png
Now playing
01:25
Bush calls on Congress to tone down 'harsh rhetoric' on immigration
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence" on March 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Many senators spoke both for and against gun control the day after a shooting in Boulder, Colorado where a gunman opened fire at a grocery store, killing ten people. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence" on March 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Many senators spoke both for and against gun control the day after a shooting in Boulder, Colorado where a gunman opened fire at a grocery store, killing ten people. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:18
Berman on Cruz's latest tweet: 'The pot calling the kettle violent'
Now playing
01:57
Chuck Hagel criticizes Trump's statement on Afghanistan
gun laws shootings Comer pamela brown nr vpx _00015627.png
CNN
gun laws shootings Comer pamela brown nr vpx _00015627.png
Now playing
02:23
'I can't answer that': Kentucky lawmaker responds to CNN on gun policy
Now playing
02:39
National security adviser: Russia will face consequences if Navalny dies in prison
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on February 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted 230 to 199 on Friday evening to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from committee assignments over her remarks about QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on February 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted 230 to 199 on Friday evening to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from committee assignments over her remarks about QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
Now playing
03:20
Marjorie Taylor Greene lashes out at media after backlash over controversial caucus
(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump announced Thursday night that Joseph Maguire, the leader of the National Counterterrorism Center, is his new pick to be the acting director of national intelligence.

“I am pleased to inform you that the Honorable Joseph Maguire, current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will be named Acting Director of National Intelligence, effective August 15th,” Trump tweeted.

The announcement came not long after Trump tweeted that Sue Gordon, the country’s number two intelligence official and an intelligence veteran of more than 30 years, would resign. White House officials had been signaling such a move for days, saying Trump would prefer to have a political loyalist in the role.

Under normal protocol, Gordon would have become acting director after outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats resigned. But administration officials told CNN that the White House was reviewing whether it could legally choose an acting director outside the line of succession.

And two sources told CNN that Gordon was not viewed by some in the administration as the type of political loyalist Trump wanted in the role. Maguire will take over for Coats, whose last day with the administration is on August 15.

In a statement Thursday, Coats praised both Gordon and Maguire.

“It has been a privilege serving with Sue Gordon to lead the ODNI and the Intelligence Community over these past two years. She is a visionary leader who has made an enormous impact on the IC over the more than three decades she has served,” Coats said.

“I have had the pleasure of working with NCTC Director Joseph Maguire as part of my leadership team at ODNI, and I am pleased that the President has announced that Joe will serve as Acting DNI. Joe has had a long, distinguished career serving the nation and will lead the men and women in the IC with distinction.”

Gordon’s abrupt departure, with only one week’s notice, and Trump’s longstanding hostility toward the intelligence community – which he has publicly derided, likened to Nazis and disagreed with – is likely to heighten concerns that the President may be trying to politicize agencies that are meant to stand apart from partisanship or politicking.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said the retirements of Coats and Gordon “represent a devastating loss to the Intelligence Community and the men and women who serve in it.”

“These losses of leadership, coupled with a President determined to weed out anyone who may dare disagree, represent one of the most challenging moments for the Intelligence Community,” Schiff said in a statement. “It will be up to the Congress to ensure that the Intelligence Community continues to provide independent analysis and judgement to policy makers, and always speak truth to power.”

Intelligence professionals emphasize the need to keep politics out of their work in order to offer policy makers the clearest assessment they can of threats and opportunities. The next leaders of the intelligence community will deal with a particularly thorny and dangerous set of challenges, as Trump has escalated tensions with Iran, his trade war with China intensifies, he is considering a third summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who continues to test missiles, and the US-backed movement to oust Venezuela’s leaders is faltering.

Gordon’s resignation letter seemed to indicate that retirement hadn’t been her choice, and that Trump had asked her to step down.

“As you ask a new leadership team to take the helm, I will resign my position effective 15 August 2019,” Gordon wrote. “Know that our people are our strength, and they will never fail you or the Nation.”

Later, the White House released a handwritten note from Gordon that made it clear she was not leaving of her own accord.

“I offer this letter as an act of respect & patriotism, not preference. You should have your team,” she wrote in the note to Trump.

Trump has made clear his desire to bring to heel US intelligence agencies, which have produced evidence he disagrees with on Iran, North Korea, Russia’s interference in US elections and other issues.

When discussing his attempt to replace Coats with Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe on July 30, the President told reporters that intelligence community needed “somebody like that that’s strong and can really rein it in. As you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok. They’ve run amok.”

And it was clear members of the President’s inner circle saw the acting director position in political terms as well. Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about Gordon on August 2, referring to former CIA Director and Trump critic John Brennan, and saying that “if Adam Schiff wants her in there, the rumors about her being besties with Brennan and the rest of the clown cadre must be 100% true.”

CNN legal analyst and law professor Stephen Vladeck noted on Twitter, that Gordon’s resignation cleared “the way for @realDonaldTrump to name as Acting DNI _any_ current Senate-confirmed Executive Branch officer, or a range of other senior officials currently serving in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”

Former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden told CNN that it’s “awful” that Gordon resigned.

“She is a professional. CIA. (National Geospace-Intelligence Agency),” Hayden said. “She rose through the ranks at CIA to become deputy director of support, which is the largest directorate. Coats is a good man but she kept the trains running on time. Trump doesn’t understand what it is to be a professional intelligence officer.”

Leaders in both parties had expressed confidence in Gordon, with many advocating for her to get the top job. Her departure is likely to unsettle lawmakers eager for stability in the aftermath of Coats’ resignation and the fallout after Trump’s chosen successor, Ratcliffe, fell by the wayside after scathing criticism.

“Sue Gordon’s retirement is a significant loss for our Intelligence Community,” said Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“In more than three decades of public service, Sue earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues with her patriotism and vision. She has been a stalwart partner to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I will miss her candor and deep knowledge of the issues. I look forward to seeing what new challenges she will tackle next.”

Burr had said earlier that he’d be “shocked” if Gordon weren’t selected as acting director.

“The White House certainly has that ability, but she’s more than capable of handling that job,” he said. “I would be shocked, because that’s what principal deputies are in place for.”

Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate intelligence committee, called Gordon “a patriot and a consummate professional.” He said, “her retirement is a great loss not only to the intelligence community, but to the country.” And he took aim at Trump.

“President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he is seemingly incapable of hearing facts that contradict his own views,” Warner said in a statement. “The mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power; Yet in pushing out two dedicated public servants in as many weeks, once again the President has shown that he has no problem prioritizing his political ego even if it comes at the expense of our national security.”

Trump acknowledged Gordon’s career in his Thursday tweet.

“Sue Gordon is a great professional with a long and distinguished career,” Trump wrote. “I have gotten to know Sue over the past 2 years and have developed great respect for her. Sue has announced she will be leaving on August 15, which coincides with the retirement of Dan Coats. A new Acting Director of National Intelligence will be named shortly.”

Trump tweeted that Maguire, who will take her place, “has a long and distinguished career in the military, retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2010. He commanded at every level, including the Naval Special Warfare Command. He has also served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. I have no doubt he will do a great job!”

Trump’s apparent distrust of the intelligence community can be traced back to the 2016 presidential campaign when he first cast doubt on Russia’s efforts to interfere in US elections despite stark warnings from top national security officials.

Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly clashed with intelligence officials, including Coats, over their public comments acknowledging Russia not only interfered in 2016, but also poses a threat to future elections – an assessment that was reaffirmed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which the President has characterized as a “political witch hunt.”

Trump has publicly disagreed with his own intelligence officials on a myriad of other issues including North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the threat posed by the Islamic State, the situation in Afghanistan, whether the Saudi crown prince ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and whether Iran was in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal signed by President Obama.

This story has been updated.

CNN’s Jake Tapper, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Zach Cohen and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.