I know in the base time travelers were the strongest. I don't think they still are. If I'm remembering correctly Gauntlets race mod has three, or four traits this may make customising, not a good idea. As far as Xenophobic you will also need influence starbases. The Ai is smarter.
The pros to intrigue are also there cons.
pro is that farming is done, so the Ai has a more equal chance to farm as you. The con is that now carbon is even weaker next to everyone else.
Pro is that now the Ai can better keep up with your expanding. The con is that it is now harder to colonise.
This is a pro con I never heard anyone complain about. Pro you can now control approval through taxes. The con is that now you have to watch your taxes.
Pro the Ai is better at playing.
Pro now you have meaningful governments. You have to choose your governments based on your playstyle.