President Trump has named his pick to succeed John Bolton as the next National Security Advisor amid burgeoning tensions with Iran over a weekend attack in Saudi Arabia.
In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump said he planned to nominate Robert C. O’Brien, who currently serves as the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, the administration’s top hostage negotiator, to become the next NSA.
I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O’Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Advisor. I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2019
According to the State Department’s website, O’Brien has served in multiple administrations, and even once worked closely with John Bolton after being named the US representative to the 60th session of the UN General Assembly by George W Bush.
Read his full biography below:
Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien serves as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Working for Secretary Pompeo, O’Brien leads the U.S. Government’s diplomatic efforts on overseas hostage-related matters. He works closely with the families of American hostages and advises the senior leadership of the U.S. Government on hostage issues. O’Brien also coordinates with the interagency Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell on the development and implementation of U.S. hostage recovery policy and strategy.
O’Brien previously served as Co-Chairman of the U.S. Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan under both Secretaries Rice and Clinton. The PPJRA promoted the rule of law by training Afghan judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers and provided scholarships for young Afghan lawyers to study in the U.S. From 2008 through 2011, O’Brien was a presidentially-appointed member of the U.S. Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which advises the federal government on issues relating to the trafficking of antiquities and other cultural items. In 2005, Mr. O’Brien was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a U.S. Representative to the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly where he worked with Ambassador John Bolton. Earlier in his career, O’Brien served as a Senior Legal Officer for the UN Security Council commission that decided claims against Iraq arising out of the first Gulf War. O’Brien was a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve.
O’Brien is the co-founding partner of Larson O’Brien LLP in Los Angeles, a nationally recognized litigation firm. His law practice focuses on complex litigation and international arbitration. In addition to his client work, O’Brien has served as an arbitrator in over 20 international proceedings and he has been appointed by the federal courts to serve as a special master in numerous complex cases.
O’Brien is a graduate of the Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley. He received his B.A. degree in political science, cum laude, from UCLA. He is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.
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Like Mitt Romney, whose campaign he worked on as an advisor, O’Brien is a mormon. And after he is confirmed, will be the highest ranking Mormon in the Trump Administration.
As many federal jobs remain unfilled, Trump didn’t take long to nominate O’Brien, which suggests the administration already had him in mind, and that they only needed to vet him.
O’Brien has been involved in many high-profile incidents during the Trump years, including, most recently, the negotiations with Sweden over the fate of rapper A$AP Rocky.
This makes O’Brien the highest ranking Morman in the U.S. government https://t.co/ZN3QOsDHxL
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) September 18, 2019
Back in 2017, O’Brien was reportedly considered to be Secretary of the Navy, but was instead nominated to his current position, and given the rank of ambassador one year later.