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Robert O'Brien at A$AP Rocky's trial in Stockholm. Photo: Michael Campanella/Getty Images

President Trump announced Wednesday that he selected Robert O’Brien to be his new national security adviser.

The big picture: O’Brien serves as the Trump administration’s hostage envoy and was sent to Sweden this summer to negotiate the release of rapper A$AP Rocky.

  • His appointment as Trump's fourth national security adviser comes a week after John Bolton's abrupt departure from the White House.
  • The U.S., either on a diplomatic or military level, is currently engaged in conflicts with Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and Afghanistan.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev and Alayna Treene: Trump thinks of O’Brien as a winner, because he has been successful at getting hostages released. He also looks the part — which has consistently been an important qualifier for the president.

  • Trump leaned heavily on Mike Pompeo throughout the process of selecting a new national security adviser, and O'Brien is someone Pompeo has worked well with in the past.

Worth noting: O'Brien has previously worked for both Sen. Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, which could be a sticking point for Trump, who views both as symbolic of the GOP establishment.

  • He's also viewed as far less hawkish than his predecessor — he is a hostage negotiator, after all — but that is a low bar given Bolton's aggressive tendencies.

Go deeper: Trump's anti-Iran strategy is facing its greatest test


Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."

Rep. Dan Crenshaw says he'll be blind for a month after eye surgery

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said in a statement Saturday he will be blind for roughly a month after getting surgery to reattach the retina in left eye.

Why it matters: Crenshaw, who lost his right eye and sustained severe damage to his left eye during his third deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, said he will be "pretty much off the grid for the next few weeks."