Trump’s last national security advisor to return to LA law firm
Robert O’Brien has also considered a 2024 presidential run.
Robert O’Brien, who was former President Donald Trump’s last national security advisor, is rejoining the law firm he co-founded in Los Angeles, according to a person familiar with the matter.
O’Brien recently moved back to LA and is returning to Larson LLP, a litigation firm, with around 30 lawyers, that he started in 2016 with former federal judge Stephen G. Larson. O’Brien will be Of Counsel to the firm and will have an international practice on arbitration. Last month, the Nixon Foundation announced that O’Brien would co-chair its foundation’s monthly foreign policy seminar with former Secretaries of State Mike Pompeo and Henry Kissinger.
O’Brien, who arguably had the lowest public profile of Trump’s four national security advisors, prioritized focusing on America’s geostrategic competition with China and also worked on the Abraham Accords and economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, among other foreign policy issues. A fierce advocate on television for Trump’s policies, he also downsized the NSC’s staff. He also drew negative attention in two inspector general complaints filed by whistleblowers.
According to Bob Woodward’s book “Rage,” O’Brien, who tested positive for Covid-19 last summer, told Trump in late January of 2020 that the coronavirus “will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” a warning that Trump didn’t seem to take as seriously since he spent much of the next year dismissing the impact of the virus.
Before joining the White House, O'Brien was the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department and helped free dozens of Americans detained abroad. According to a former law firm bio online, he also continued working at his law firm at the same time, only leaving the firm when he became national security advisor. (Such work was allowed in his status as a special government employee.)
O’Brien has also told friends and colleagues that he’s interested in potentially running for president in 2024, although if Trump runs, he would likely pass on launching such a campaign. GOP strategists dismissed such a potential bid as far-fetched.