In a big shake-up of the President's inner circle (and a big thumb in the eye to Senate Republicans) National Security Adviser Tom Donilon is resigning his post ... and it's going to Susan Rice. The New York Times reports that Barack Obama will announce the change to his foreign policy team on Wednesday afternoon, just two days before he meets with the president of China in California.
Rice, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, had the been the president's pick to be Secretary of State, but her nomination was scuttled by Republican opposition after she became embroiled in the controversy over the attack on Benghazi. (She withdrew from consideration when it became clear that the Senate would block her her nomination and the post went to John Kerry.) However, her new job puts her in position arguably more influential, giving her the President's ear on almost daily basis and advising him on issues that go beyond mere diplomacy. What make the appointment even more satisfying for (and galling to her critics) is that the National Security Adviser does not require Senate approval.
Donilon was Obama's first and only National Security Advisor and is a life-long Washington insider. He had planned to leave at the end of the first term, but stayed on the help shepherd the president through the transition of the rest of his national security team, including the new secretaries of Defense and State, as well as a new CIA director. His is resignation will take effect next month.