National Security Adviser Tom Donilon will announce his resignation today, multiple outlets are reporting, and President Obama isn't exactly choosing a politically safe successor. Instead he'll tap Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN who's become a lightning rod thanks to the Benghazi controversy. The job doesn't require Senate confirmation, according to the AP, whereas filibuster threats drove Rice to withdraw her name from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton. Former National Security Council aide Samantha Power is expected to be nominated to replace Rice.
Donilon's resignation has a whiff of controversy around it as well, coming on the heels of a Foreign Policy piece reporting that he was under fire from many within the administration, including his ex-deputy and current White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Critics complained that he exerts an outsized influence on Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times points out, though McDonough himself denies the report. "It pains me to think anybody would think he's leaving because of me," he says. Donilon says he'd actually planned to leave after Obama's first term, but stayed on to foster harmony among the all-new national security team of John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and John Brennan. He'll depart early next month.