IN Focus: Why hasn’t Dan Coats been confirmed yet?

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INDIANAPOLIS - He's the President's pick to serve as Director of National Intelligence, but former Indiana senator Dan Coats still hasn't been confirmed by the Senate, and still hasn't gone in front of the committee that will hold hearings ahead of his confirmation vote.

President Trump expressed frustration at the confirmation process during his news conference at the White House on Thursday, mentioning Coats several times specifically.

“He can’t get approved. How do you not approve him?” asked the President. “He’s been a colleague, highly respected, brilliant guy, great guy, everybody knows it.”

But no one seems to know why the process is taking so long.

Senate aides familiar with the confirmation process tell FOX59's Dan Spehler that Coats' paperwork is not yet complete, forcing another delay in the scheduling of his hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence committee.

According to the press office for committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the hearing is likely to be held the week of Feb. 27, when the Senate returns from a week-long recess.

As for the reasons behind the delay, Burr's office referred us to an interview Burr gave to The Hill, in which he said Coats himself was not to blame for the paperwork delay.

“Requirements of the minority to have everything — and some of that’s out of our control, it’s FBI security, background checks,” Burr told The Hill.

But in the midst of these delays, there's also been continuing discussion at the White House about the intelligence director's job description, and whether Coats would still be a voting member of the National Security Council's principles committee, after the President signed an executive order elevating chief strategist Steve Bannon's role on the NSC.

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Coats was angry "at what he sees as a move by Bannon and (Jared) Kushner to sideline him" before he is even confirmed.

So could Coats be getting cold feet, as some have suggested?

"If I was Dan Coats, I might be slow-walking this, and I might be having some second thoughts," said FOX59 political commentator Jennifer Wagner on this week's edition of IN Focus.

Some lawmakers from Indiana have already rallied to Coats' cause, including freshman Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN), who told us earlier this month that Coats needed to have "a seat at the table" at the NSC.

"Because of Senator Coats’ strong background, it seems imperative to me that he be seated as voting member of the NSC and that’s why I’m calling on the President to reconsider the decision he’s made," Banks told FOX59's Dan Spehler.

Coats himself has not been vocal about the changes at the NSC or the ongoing battle between the President and the intelligence community - but it's not uncommon for cabinet nominees to remain under the radar until their confirmation hearing.

Coats is one of three cabinet nominees who have not yet been confirmed by the Senate. 

President Trump and Senate Republicans have railed against Democrats for dragging out the confirmation process for several of Trump's most controversial picks. For the most part, Coats' nomination has not been viewed as controversial, but once it finally occurs, his confirmation hearing is likely to bring many questions about the ongoing feud between the administration and the intelligence community.

In the video above, the IN Focus panel discusses the Coats delay and this week's other top stories, including the latest fallout from the firing of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and what the controversy means for Vice President Mike Pence, and his influence within the Trump administration.