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Westlake Legal Group > Appointments and Executive Changes (Page 3)

WeWork C.E.O., Adam Neumann, Stepping Down Under Pressure

Westlake Legal Group 24wework2-facebookJumbo WeWork C.E.O., Adam Neumann, Stepping Down Under Pressure WeWork Companies Inc Stocks and Bonds Neumann, Adam Initial Public Offerings Co-Working Appointments and Executive Changes

WeWork’s co-founder, Adam Neumann, is stepping down as chief executive of the embattled shared office space business, three people briefed on the decision said on Tuesday, a stunning fall for the entrepreneur who oversaw the meteoric rise of one of the most valuable start-ups to emerge in the last decade.

Under pressure to leave from board members and investors in recent days, Mr. Neumann will become nonexecutive chairman of WeWork’s parent, the We Company. WeWork will name two current executives, Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, as interim co-chief executives, one of the people said. The company will conduct a search for a permanent chief executive.

The resignation is the most significant step the company has taken to win over Wall Street after a botched initial public offering. The company delayed the share sale last week after earlier reducing its estimated market value to as little as $15 billion, from the $47 billion valuation it sold shares at privately in January.

Investors have expressed concern that Mr. Neumann, a charismatic but unpredictable leader, exercised too much control over the company through special voting shares. They were also unnerved by deals We Company reached with Mr. Neumann and entities he controlled.

The decision was made on a lengthy board call on Tuesday and after deliberations between Mr. Neumann and his closest confidants in recent days. On Sunday, he met with the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, and later in the day had dinner with Bruce Dunlevie, a partner at Benchmark Capital and a director of the We Company.

It is not clear if Mr. Neumann’s departure as chief executive will be enough to bolster interest in We’s shares. Investors have also expressed concerns about the company’s business model. We has been spending billions of dollars to expand and is unlikely to turn a profit in the foreseeable future.

Mr. Neumann and WeWork have been the driving force in the flexible office space business, which is transforming the commercial real estate market. Individuals and companies are flocking to locations run by WeWork and others, attracted by shorter leases and nicely designed spaces.

But as the company has expanded at a breakneck speed it has lost billions of dollars and failed to convince investors that it can become a sustainable business. A more seasoned chief executive who has run businesses with a steady hand might help win over skeptics. In 2017, under pressure from investors, Travis Kalanick resigned as chief executive of Uber. He was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, a former chief executive at Expedia who set about trying to improve the culture at Uber and preparing the company for an I.P.O.

Mr. Neumann’s management style was sometimes impulsive: He once unilaterally declared that WeWork would ban meat from the company, which forced executives to quickly come up with a rationale for why.

He also invested in properties that leased space to WeWork. Though Mr. Neumann later sold his stakes in the properties to an investment arm of WeWork, the deals raised concerns among investors that he was trying to enrich himself at the company’s expense.

Mr. Neumann’s resignation comes as a blow to its biggest outside investor, SoftBank, the Japanese company that has plowed billions of dollars into WeWork and other start-ups. Softbank’s chief executive, Masayoshi Son, has given founders wide leeway in expanding their businesses and looked the other way at excesses until investors in the public markets push back.

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Arab Parties Back Benny Gantz as Israeli Leader, to End Netanyahu’s Grip

Westlake Legal Group 22israel-facebookJumbo Arab Parties Back Benny Gantz as Israeli Leader, to End Netanyahu’s Grip Politics and Government Palestinians Odeh, Ayman (1975- ) Netanyahu, Benjamin Likud Party (Israel) Joint List (Israel) Israel Gantz, Benny Blue and White (Israeli Political Party) Appointments and Executive Changes

JERUSALEM — After 27 years of sitting out decisions on who should lead Israel, Arab lawmakers on Sunday recommended that Benny Gantz, the centrist former army chief, be given the first chance to form a government over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a watershed assertion of political power.

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List, wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed published on Sunday that the alliance’s 13 incoming lawmakers — the third-largest faction in the newly elected Parliament — had decided to recommend Mr. Gantz because it would “create the majority needed to prevent another term for Mr. Netanyahu.”

“It should be the end of his political career,” Mr. Odeh wrote.

The Arab lawmakers’ recommendation, which Mr. Odeh and other members of the Joint List delivered to President Reuven Rivlin in a face-to-face meeting Sunday evening, reflected Arab citizens’ impatience to integrate more fully into Israeli society and to have their concerns be given greater weight by Israeli lawmakers.

“There is no doubt a historic aspect to what we are doing now,” Mr. Odeh said in the meeting with the president, which was broadcast live.

It was also a striking act of comeuppance for Mr. Netanyahu, who for years had rallied his right-wing supporters by inflaming anti-Arab sentiments. Before the Sept. 17 election, he accused Arab politicians of trying to steal the election and at one point accused them of wanting to “destroy us all.”

Israeli Arabs “have chosen to reject Benjamin Netanyahu, his politics of fear and hate, and the inequality and division he advanced for the past decade,” Mr. Odeh wrote in the Op-Ed for The Times.

Still, Mr. Odeh wrote that the Joint List would not enter a government led by Mr. Gantz because he had not agreed to embrace its entire “equality agenda” — fighting violent crime in Arab cities, changing housing and planning laws to treat Arab and Jewish neighborhoods the same, improving Arabs’ access to hospitals, increasing pensions, preventing violence against women, incorporating Arab villages that lack water and electricity, resuming peace talks with the Palestinians and repealing the law passed last year that declared Israel the nation-state only of the Jewish people.

The last time Arab lawmakers recommended a prime minister was in 1992, when two Arab parties with a total of five seats in Parliament recommended Yitzhak Rabin, though they did not join his government.

“We have decided to demonstrate that Arab Palestinian citizens can no longer be rejected or ignored,” Mr. Odeh wrote.

In the 1992 election, Mr. Rabin initially held a narrow majority in the 120-seat Knesset even without the Arab parties’ support, though he came to rely on it a year later after Shas, an ultra-Orthodox party, quit the government when Mr. Rabin signed the Oslo peace accords.

Mr. Odeh wrote that the decision to support Mr. Gantz was meant as “a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Palestinian citizens.”

Mr. Gantz narrowly edged the prime minister in the national election last Tuesday. Afterward, both candidates called for unity, but differed on how to achieve it.

The former army chief appears to lack a 61-seat majority even with the Joint List’s support. He emerged from the election with 57 seats, including those of allies on the left and the Joint List, compared with 55 seats for Mr. Netanyahu and his right-wing allies.

Avigdor Liberman, leader of the secular, right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, which won eight seats, is in the position to be a kingmaker, but said on Sunday that he would not recommend any candidate. He said that Mr. Odeh and the Joint List were not merely political opponents, but “the enemies” and belonged in the “Parliament in Ramallah,” not in the Knesset.

Mr. Rivlin began hearing the recommendations of each major party Sunday evening and was to finish on Monday, before entrusting the task of forming a government to whichever candidate he believes has the best chance of being successful.

In remarks at the start of that process, Mr. Rivlin said the Israeli public wanted a unity government including both Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White party and Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud.

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Robert O’Brien ‘Looks the Part,’ but Has Spent Little Time Playing It

WASHINGTON — Even his many critics conceded that the former national security adviser John R. Bolton brought useful credentials to the job: decades of foreign policy experience and a keen grasp of how the gears of government turn.

Mr. Bolton’s main problem, as it turned out, was that he knew too much. Confident in his experience to a fault, he was unwilling to shade his deeply held hawkish views, which he defended with a prickly personality that alienated colleagues — and ultimately President Trump himself, leading to his ouster last week.

Robert C. O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s choice to succeed Mr. Bolton, flips that equation. He is a former Los Angeles lawyer with limited government experience before he became the State Department’s point man for hostage negotiations. But his friends all cite an affable, ingratiating personality that has earned him allies throughout the Trump administration, notably including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, both of whom supported his appointment.

His physical appearance did not hurt, either. Whereas Mr. Trump was known to grouse about Mr. Bolton’s famous bushy mustache, the president has been taken with Mr. O’Brien’s well-tailored looks and easy demeanor, and thinks he “looks the part,” as one person close to the president said.

Mr. O’Brien has a record of traditional conservative foreign policy views, and has supported a tougher American approach toward China, Iran and Russia. And Mr. O’Brien served with Mr. Bolton when he was President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations. But Mr. O’Brien is no ideological firebrand in the mold of Mr. Bolton, who pushed Mr. Trump to take military action against Iran and wore contempt for the federal bureaucracy on his sleeve.

Friends and Trump officials say that while Mr. Bolton saw himself as a crusader for specific policy goals — and some said a necessary counterweight to Mr. Trump’s instincts — Mr. O’Brien, 53, is more likely to act as an arbiter of competing views and a facilitator of Mr. Trump’s decisions. One Trump official said that Mr. O’Brien would bring “no outside agenda” to the job.

That approach fits the traditional definition of the national security adviser job, a potential source of comfort to a foreign policy establishment at home and abroad long rattled by Mr. Trump’s impulsive style, and more recently by Mr. Bolton’s disregard for deliberative, organized policymaking.

But questions remain about whether Mr. O’Brien’s background has adequately prepared him for the myriad challenges of his new job. Mr. Trump is currently navigating, among other things, a broiling crisis with Iran, a deadlocked trade war with China, a stalemate in nuclear talks with North Korea and the recent collapse of peace talks in Afghanistan.

“I think the greatest challenge he will have is his relative lack of experience inside the U.S. government, and with the interagency process, given that a gigantic part of the job is coordinating the interagency process,” said Richard Fontaine, the chief executive of the nonpartisan Center for a New American Security.

Mr. Fontaine, who considers Mr. O’Brien a friend, said that “in stark contrast to Bolton,” the president’s new aide will have to spend time “learning the nooks and crannies of government.”

“When you’re in the Situation Room, you can be surprised by how many people are actually there,” he added.

Mr. O’Brien, a founding partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm Larson O’Brien, is not a complete newcomer to the Situation Room. As the United States government’s top hostage negotiator, he has interacted with military, intelligence and diplomatic officials in his efforts to free Americans held prisoner across the globe.

Among those freed during Mr. O’Brien’s tenure are Andrew Brunson, a pastor held by Turkey for two years, and Danny Lavone Burch, an oil-company engineer kidnapped in Yemen and rescued in a raid by forces from the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Trump has often celebrated these releases with on-camera meetings in the Oval Office, where Mr. O’Brien praised the president lavishly.

“This wouldn’t happen with all of these hostages and detainees without the support of the president,” Mr. O’Brien said in March after Mr. Burch’s release. “The president has had unparalleled success in bringing Americans home without paying concessions, without prisoner exchanges, but through force of will and the good will that he’s generated around the world.”

More recently, Mr. Trump sent Mr. O’Brien to Sweden for the unusual mission of trying to win the release of the rap star ASAP Rocky, who had been arrested on charges of criminal assault. A Swedish judge released the rapper pending a resolution of the case and a court later found him guilty; he was ordered to pay damages but did not have to spend more time behind bars.

Mr. O’Brien waged a low-key campaign for his new job, making his desire clear to the president and encouraging others to talk up his credentials. He encountered little opposition in contrast to candidates like Brian H. Hook, the special envoy for Iran, whose personal loyalty to the president is doubted by some administration officials.

He is a longtime friend of Mr. Pompeo’s and was on the secretary of state’s short list of acceptable choices, according to two people involved in the process. His warm relationship with Mr. Pompeo will, for now, reverse the dysfunctional rivalry that existed between Mr. Bolton and Mr. Trump’s senior diplomat.

Mr. O’Brien will be Mr. Trump’s fourth national security adviser in three years, the most any president has had in a first term. Following two predecessors who came to grate on the president and were fired — Mr. Bolton and the man who preceded him, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster — his survival will depend in part on keeping the president happy.

Speaking to reporters in Los Angeles on Wednesday with Mr. O’Brien by his side, Mr. Trump suggested they were off to a good start.

“I think we have a very good chemistry together, and I think we’re going to have a great relationship,” Mr. Trump said. “He is a very talented man.”

In brief remarks, Mr. O’Brien twice mentioned the goal of maintaining “peace through strength,” perhaps best known as a catchphrase of former President Ronald Reagan.

And while he does not have the record of television punditry that helped land Mr. Bolton the job, he has written regularly about foreign policy and collected a series of essays into a book, “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis,” published in 2016 with a cover blurb from Mr. Bolton and a glowing introduction from the conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt.

In his book, Mr. O’Brien cites Winston Churchill as a hero, condemns what he calls President Barack Obama’s weak foreign policy and calls for America to face down emboldened “autocrats, tyrants and terrorists.” That view would seem out of sync with Mr. Trump’s well-documented affinity for autocratic leaders, from Russia to Saudi Arabia to Brazil.

In 2012, Mr. O’Brien was an adviser to Mitt Romney when he ran against Mr. Obama. And he was not an early supporter of Mr. Trump in the 2016 campaign. During the Republican primaries, he first advised Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and then joined the campaign of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

In one published opinion piece for Politico in October 2015, Mr. O’Brien counseled Mr. Cruz to criticize Mr. Trump more aggressively on foreign policy and advised “playing up how chummy he will be with Vladimir Putin if he is elected.”

Jerrold D. Green, the president and chief executive of the Pacific Council on International Policy, a foreign affairs organization in Los Angeles, said that he has known Mr. O’Brien for more than a decade and that Mr. O’Brien had been scheduled to be the keynote speaker on Wednesday at Pepperdine Law School’s Constitution Day, but had to cancel because of his appointment as national security adviser.

“He’s well loved in California, which is interesting, for a rather conservative Republican in this which is the heartland of liberal Democratic politics,” Mr. Green said. “He’s a very, very popular, well-respected, well-liked guy here, despite the fact that his political universe is Scott Walker and Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz, who are somewhat less than iconic amongst most Angelenos. It kind of speaks to his personal qualities.”

After John Bolton Was Fired
Read about what led to Mr. O’Brien’s appointment.
Trump Names 5 Candidates for National Security Adviser

Sept. 17, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158639664_3ac82bd8-9d51-4a7b-a734-2ad9f99b54bf-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Robert O’Brien ‘Looks the Part,’ but Has Spent Little Time Playing It United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes
Trump Ousts John Bolton as National Security Adviser

Sept. 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-bolton-promo-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v3 Robert O’Brien ‘Looks the Part,’ but Has Spent Little Time Playing It United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes
Five Policy Clashes Between John Bolton and President Trump

Sept. 10, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-policy-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Robert O’Brien ‘Looks the Part,’ but Has Spent Little Time Playing It United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes

Michael Crowley reported from Washington, Peter Baker from Los Angeles and Maggie Haberman from New York. Tim Arango contributed reporting from Los Angeles.

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Trump Weighs Retaliation Against Iran and Names National Security Adviser

LOS ANGELES — In the space of seven minutes on an airport tarmac on Wednesday, President Trump captured the thorny decision he faces as he once again straddles the edge of war and peace.

One moment, he threatened to order “the ultimate option” of a strike on Iran in retaliation for attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. The next he ruminated about what a mistake it had been for the United States to get entangled in Middle East wars and welcomed Iran’s president to visit.

To help sort through the alternatives, Mr. Trump on Wednesday named a hawkish new national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, the State Department’s chief hostage negotiator. But as Mr. Trump spoke with reporters, shouting to be heard over the roar of Air Force One engines, Mr. Trump sounded like a commander in chief searching for a way to be tough without pulling the trigger.

“It’s very easy to attack, but if you ask Lindsey, ask him how did going into the Middle East, how did that work out? And how did going into Iraq work out?” Mr. Trump told reporters, referring to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican ally who warned against showing “weakness” toward Iran. “So we have a disagreement on that. And you know, there’s plenty of time to do some dastardly things. It’s very easy to start.”

Mr. Trump’s team has developed a range of alternatives short of a retaliatory strike with bombs or missiles, including a new round of sanctions to further strangle Iran’s economy, the deployment of more American forces to the region as a deterrent against future provocations and a stepped-up cybercampaign to send a message of resolve to Tehran without bloodshed, officials said.

The president, who was wrapping up a three-day campaign trip to New Mexico and California, began Wednesday by vowing more sanctions on Iran to be detailed in the next 48 hours. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia and declared the attacks an “act of war” by Iran but talked mainly of rallying allies to enhance deterrence.

“That’s my mission here, is to work with our partners in the region,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters on his plane. “We will be working with our European partners as well,” he continued, adding, “We’re working to build out a coalition to develop a plan to deter them.”

The military options available to Mr. Trump are similar to the airstrikes that he called off at the last minute in June after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone. Among those potential Iranian targets were facilities like radar and missile batteries. Instead of missile attacks, the United States later mounted a cyberattack on Iran that avoided the casualties that Mr. Trump said concerned him.

Military planners at the Pentagon and at United States Central Command in Tampa, Fla., have forwarded a long-identified list of Iranian targets that could constitute a proportional response. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper discussed those options with Mr. Trump and other top national security aides in meetings on Sunday and Monday, officials said.

The more aggressive options include strikes against Iran’s Abadan oil refinery, one of the world’s largest, or Kharg Island, the country’s biggest oil export facility, options first reported by NBC News.

But attacking them could escalate the conflict and pull the United States deeper into a Middle East conflict.

Other potential targets include missile launch sites, bases or other assets belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the elite Iranian unit blamed for much of Iran’s paramilitary operations against external foes.

American intelligence detected unusual activity at military bases in southwest Iran that would be consistent with preparations for missile and drone strikes like those against Saudi Arabia, two senior American officials said. Those bases could be among potential targets.

Any strikes against Iran would almost certainly be carried out by volleys of cruise missiles from Navy vessels. Strike aircraft would be aloft to carry out attacks if Iran retaliated against the first wave, but the priority would be to not endanger American pilots.

Michael J. Morell, a former acting director of the C.I.A., said on Monday night that the United States must retaliate, especially if Iran is found responsible for the attacks.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158639664_88aa6766-c33a-4387-b5a5-d368018377fd-articleLarge Trump Weighs Retaliation Against Iran and Names National Security Adviser United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) National Security Council Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes

Mr. O’Brien is an outspoken advocate of tough policies toward Iran and powers like Russia and China.CreditErik Simander/TT News Agency, via Reuters

“We need to respond here, particularly if the attack occurred from Iran,” Mr. Morell said in a presentation at George Mason University in Virginia. “That is an act of war, not just a terrorist attack. I think we have to deter Iran.”

Senior officials said they were looking at cyberoptions, which would cause few or no casualties and would be considered a “proportionate response.”

American war plans have long included such options against Iranian oil production facilities, a feature of a plan called Nitro Zeus, developed years ago to cripple Iranian infrastructure without resorting to bombing.

The secret cyberattack in June wiped out a critical database used by Iran’s paramilitary arm to plot attacks against oil tankers and degraded Tehran’s ability to covertly target shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf, at least temporarily. Iran spent months trying to recover lost information and restart some of the computer systems — including military communications networks. It is not clear whether it has succeeded.

Military planners are also advancing the idea of deploying more American forces to the region without taking direct action against Iran. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the commander of Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East, has pushed to send additional troops to the region, senior military officials said.

In meetings and in memos, the general has argued that the United States should view Iran as a great power or near-peer threat, much as the Trump administration’s formal national security strategy views China, Russia and North Korea.

Under that logic, the United States would include Iran along with China and Russia as a central threat, requiring sustained military commitment to the region. The attack on the Saudi oil fields, the officials said, is being used to bolster Central Command’s push for more resources.

But Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, disputed that characterization, which was provided by senior Pentagon officials. “That is a wildly inaccurate representation of General McKenzie’s thoughts and counsel on both Iran and the National Defense Strategy,” he said, without elaborating.

Mr. Trump will be assisted in making his decision by Mr. O’Brien, who will replace John R. Bolton as the national security adviser. Mr. Trump announced the appointment via Twitter on Wednesday morning, and Mr. O’Brien, a Los Angeles lawyer, then joined him on Air Force One.

In selecting Mr. O’Brien, the president opted for an outspoken advocate of tough policies toward Iran and powers like Russia and China, leaving it unclear how his advice may differ from that of Mr. Bolton, an ally with whom Mr. O’Brien has worked in the past. Mr. Bolton left the White House last week in an acrimonious break with the president after unsuccessfully urging the June strikes on Iran and resisting diplomatic outreach to Tehran.

Mr. O’Brien will be Mr. Trump’s fourth national security adviser in less than three years, the most any president has had in a first term. He has written regularly about foreign policy and collected a series of essays in a book, “While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis,” published in 2016 with a cover blurb from Mr. Bolton.

In that book, Mr. O’Brien warned against “appeasement and retreat” as he excoriated President Barack Obama for what he deemed a weak foreign policy. “There is simply no evidence to support the idea that we can trust revolutionary Iran to give up its long-term goal of developing a nuclear weapon and delivery systems,” he wrote.

Although Mr. Trump abandoned Mr. Obama’s nuclear agreement, the president remains open to negotiations with Iran. His administration denied visas to some Iranians intent on traveling to New York for next week’s United Nations General Assembly session because of their ties to a designated terrorist group, but Mr. Trump said he would let top Iranian officials visit. “If it was up to me, I would let them come,” he said.

His disagreement with Mr. Graham, one of his closest allies, was notable. The senator said on Tuesday that the president’s decision to call off the airstrikes in June was seen by Iran as “a sign of weakness.”

On the Los Angeles tarmac on Wednesday, Mr. Trump rejected that, saying, “No, I actually think it’s a sign of strength.”

“There are many options,” Mr. Trump added. “There’s the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we’ll see. We’re in a very powerful position. Right now we’re in a very, very powerful position.”

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Planned Parenthood and Fired Former Chief Mired in Escalating Dispute

Leana Wen, the recently fired former president of Planned Parenthood, appears headed toward an increasingly contentious exit, after accusing the organization’s leadership of trying to “buy my silence” in a dispute that threatens to prolong and magnify an acrimonious transition at the top of the nation’s best known women’s health care and reproductive rights group.

Dr. Wen has been engaged in two months of fraught negotiations over her severance package since she was fired in July. She led Planned Parenthood for less than a year and accused the organization of withholding her health insurance and departure payout as “ransom” to pressure her to sign a confidentiality agreement.

She made the accusations in a barbed 1,400-word letter to Planned Parenthood’s board of directors this past week, which was obtained by The New York Times. “No amount of money can ever buy my integrity and my commitment to the patients I serve,” Dr. Wen wrote.

The public airing of internal discord comes at an inopportune time for Planned Parenthood as both the organization itself and its abortion services have come under assault by the Trump administration and Republican-controlled statehouses.

Planned Parenthood disputed Dr. Wen’s characterizations.

“Dr. Wen’s recent allegations are unfortunate, saddening, and simply untrue,” said Melanie Newman, a senior vice president for communications at Planned Parenthood. “The attorneys representing the board have made every good faith effort to amicably part from Dr. Wen, and are disappointed that they have been unable to reach a suitable resolution regarding her exit package.”

Ms. Newman noted Dr. Wen has remained on payroll during the negotiations and will be salaried through mid-October, with health benefits through the end of that month under COBRA. Ms. Newman said Planned Parenthood had offered Dr. Wen a full additional year of salary and health benefits “under terms that are standard and consistent with her employment agreement and any reasonable executive exit package.”

The dispute, in many ways, is a classic and familiar one: A fired executive seeking compensation and the organization seeking a non-disclosure agreement.

In a statement on Saturday, Dr. Wen said that, “There should be no dispute regarding the terms of my employment contract, which are clearly spelled out,” and that she was disappointed her letter had leaked. People familiar with the matter said a Monday deadline had been set for Dr. Wen and Planned Parenthood to strike an accord.

The internal drama comes as Planned Parenthood is increasingly under external political duress. Last month, Planned Parenthood said it was withdrawing from the federal program that provides services to poor women rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule which forbids referrals to doctors who can provide abortions. The program, known as Title X, had provided $60 million annually to the group.

The board of Planned Parenthood fired Dr. Wen, 36, in July after sharp disagreements over what officials there described as her abrasive and flawed management style. Dr. Wen blamed her sacking on disagreements over her reorienting the organization further from abortion politics and more toward its role as a women’s health provider.

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In her letter, Dr. Wen wrote she believed that de-emphasizing “abortion care is the best way to protect it.” “However,” she went on, “there is a vocal minority” including many national staff and board members “who prefer a stridently political, abortion-first philosophy.”

Dr. Wen said she had “no desire to harm the organization,” though some of her July comments about the politics of abortion were quickly seized by conservatives seeking political advantage.

Much of her Sept. 9 letter focused on more personal matters. Dr. Wen accused the two board chairs of preventing her from addressing the full board and wrote that she had declined to sign “a permanent gag on my voice” when she was fired July 16, “despite extraordinary pressure and substantial financial incentives.”

Before her July termination, Dr. Wen and the board had been involved in weeks of intense negotiations, according to people familiar with the matter; around that time Dr. Wen also suffered a miscarriage. She wrote about that experience in the Washington Post without informing Planned Parenthood’s leadership.

In her recent letter, she left open the possibility of legal action. “I have no desire to file claims against Planned Parenthood for defamation, retaliation, or discrimination,” she wrote ominously.

She said that Planned Parenthood was demanding her silence “in exchange for my contractually-guaranteed severance and continued health insurance coverage,” calling the efforts “unjust” and “unethical.”

Dr. Wen went so far as to invoke the recent Trump administration rules to accuse Planned Parenthood’s board of hypocrisy.

“It is deeply hypocritical,” she wrote, that Planned Parenthood, “would attempt to enforce a gag order on its immediate past President/CEO while fighting the Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X providers.”

Ms. Newman said Planned Parenthood had in fact “proposed language to reasonably meet her concerns about the scope of the confidentiality clause.”

“We had expected to reach resolution and finalize the package in the coming days,” Ms. Newman said, alluding to its potential as a distraction at a pivotal moment. “Our work is more necessary than ever, and we have never been more committed to it than we are today.”

On Thursday, Dr. Wen posted on Twitter that she had a new position as a visiting professor at George Washington University and that she was pregnant.

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Refuses Federal Funds Over Abortion Restrictions

Aug. 19, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_157155657_0165c579-7269-4a96-9c49-7ab9d750a16e-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Planned Parenthood and Fired Former Chief Mired in Escalating Dispute Wen, Leana Planned Parenthood Federation of America Health Insurance and Managed Care Appointments and Executive Changes Abortion
Why Leana Wen Quickly Lost Support at Planned Parenthood

July 17, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_155293878_c1ec0a21-1794-4c5e-8dd0-ed92aa011bea-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Planned Parenthood and Fired Former Chief Mired in Escalating Dispute Wen, Leana Planned Parenthood Federation of America Health Insurance and Managed Care Appointments and Executive Changes Abortion

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Who Could Replace John Bolton?

President Trump on Tuesday announced the departure of John R. Bolton as his national security adviser, the third person to hold the job since the beginning of the Trump administration. Though the White House has said Mr. Bolton’s current deputy, Charles M. Kupperman, will take over in the interim, Mr. Trump has said he will announce a successor next week.

A guessing game immediately began among the president’s formal and informal advisers about who still left in the president’s orbit might get the job.

The expanding list of possibilities, generated by those hoping to promote their allies or harm their enemies, included Fred Fleitz, Mr. Bolton’s former chief of staff; Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general and a former acting national security adviser; Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chairman currently advising the vice president on national security; Robert Blair, an adviser to Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff; and Robert C. O’Brien, the administration’s hostage envoy who called Mr. Trump the greatest hostage negotiator in American history.

As the administration begins to resemble a game of reverse musical chairs — too many open slots without enough loyalists to fill them — a short list of plausible replacements emerged.

The acting Adviser

Mr. Kupperman, a former Reagan administration official and defense contracting executive, is a longtime Bolton associate. Known by many national security officials by his nickname, “Kupperware,” for his blandness, Mr. Kupperman, 68, was appointed in January as deputy national security adviser under Mr. Bolton.

Shortly after Mr. Bolton left the White House on Tuesday, Hogan Gidley, a deputy White House spokesman, told reporters that Mr. Kupperman would serve as Mr. Bolton’s acting successor. Acting officials have a way of sticking around in this administration for indefinite lengths of time, but Mr. Kupperman’s track record as someone ensconced in Mr. Bolton’s inner circle could shorten his tenure.

Still, the president appreciated Mr. Kupperman’s just-the-facts style compared with Mr. Bolton’s often ideologically charged delivery: If Mr. Trump had to have a national security brief concerning long-term planning, he preferred it from Mr. Kupperman as opposed to Mr. Bolton, according to a person with knowledge of that process.

The representative to North Korea

Mr. Biegun, the United States’ special representative for North Korea, had a firsthand window into the clashes between Mr. Bolton, who never wavered from a hawkish, hard-line stance on North Korea, and the president, who has tried to use a charm offensive to persuade Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, down a path to denuclearization.

Mr. Biegun is considered a capable technocrat rather than a big-ideas person, unlike Mr. Bolton, who had firm ideological views that shaped his policy positions. Recently Mr. Biegun has been in closer alignment with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mr. Trump than with the hard-line, anti-North Korea views of Mr. Bolton.

In a speech at the University of Michigan last week, Mr. Biegun, 56, said that he did not question Mr. Trump’s choice to play down evidence that Mr. Kim was building an advancing arsenal.

“The challenge is to find a way through diplomacy to resolve it,” Mr. Biegun said. “The president has made it clear that short-range missiles don’t make him happy, but it’s not going to disrupt our efforts in order to engage diplomatically to resolve the very issues that we are referring to.”

This summer, Mr. Biegun was initially floated internally as a possibility to succeed Jon Huntsman Jr., who resigned in August as the administration’s ambassador to Russia. That job ultimately went to John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state under Mr. Pompeo.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about whether Mr. Biegun had recently interviewed with the president for the job of national security adviser.

Mr. Biegun also served as an executive secretary of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. In August 2001, Mr. Biegun was with the president, then on vacation at his ranch in Texas, when Mr. Bush received a daily brief containing an article with the title “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

The administration’s Iran representative

ImageWestlake Legal Group 10dc-adviser2-articleLarge Who Could Replace John Bolton? United States Politics and Government United States International Relations O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) North Korea National Security Council McMaster, H R Kupperman, Charles M Kellogg, Joseph Keith Jr (1944- ) Keane, John M Iran Grenell, Richard Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes

Brian H. Hook, the special representative to Iran, is one of the remaining appointees of the Rex W. Tillerson era.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Mr. Hook, 51, is also said to be in contention to succeed Mr. Bolton. He is the administration’s special representative for Iran and a senior adviser to Mr. Pompeo.

Mr. Hook, a lawyer brought into the State Department under Rex W. Tillerson, is one of the remaining survivors from that era. An administration official familiar with Mr. Hook’s relationship with Mr. Trump said that the two “interact on Iran” and that “the president is happy with how the strategy is going there.”

He would also probably have the support of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has tried to push his allies into high-profile administration positions before. But Mr. Hook could already be engaged. He has stepped up to take on Mr. Kushner’s Middle East portfolio as Jason Greenblatt, the co-architect of the administration’s peace plan for that region, prepares to leave.

Another Fox News fixture

Mr. Trump is almost certainly familiar with Mr. Macgregor, a retired Army colonel who has written several books on reorganizing the military. But more important to Mr. Trump, he also appears frequently on one of the president’s favorite Fox programs, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

In June, when Mr. Trump decided at the last minute to call off a round of strikes against Iran, he had listened to Mr. Carlson’s assertion that a strike could prove politically fatal. A frequent guest on the show that week was Mr. Macgregor, who backed up that rationale.

Reached by telephone on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Macgregor seemed to expect the call. “It’s no comment, no comment, no comment,” he said, declining to say whether he had talked to the White House about Mr. Bolton’s job.

Either way, solid television performances may not be the safest route to Mr. Trump’s good graces. The president had also liked the look of Mr. Bolton’s fiery Fox News performances before he hired him for the national security adviser post.

The wild card

Mr. Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, is personally liked by the president. At times, he has emulated Mr. Trump’s brash diplomatic style. Shortly after beginning his post in Germany, he elicited the annoyance of politicians there by admonishing any German companies doing business with Iran.

Mr. Grenell, 52, who is gay, is perhaps best known for enthusiastically defending the president’s position on gay rights, even as the Trump administration has taken steps to roll back civil rights for gay and transgender people. He has also led an effort to decriminalize homosexuality around the globe.

Throughout his tenure, Mr. Grenell has told his allies that he has been considered for several high-ranking positions — this year, his name was floated as a prospective nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, a position that Kelly Knight Kraft, the ambassador to Canada at the time, ultimately filled. He expects to be interviewed for Mr. Bolton’s job, according to a person with knowledge of the planning process.

The really wild card

General McMaster, who was ousted last year weeks after a furious tweetstorm from Mr. Trump over his comment that there was “incontrovertible” evidence of Russian election interference, has received at least one phone call from the president on matters of national security, according to a report from NBC News and confirmed by The New York Times.

The chances he is offered the job? “Less than zero,” according to a person familiar with his historically fraught relationship with Mr. Trump.

In any other administration, that would mean he wouldn’t have a chance.

Another possibility from the McMaster era could be Ricky Waddell, a former deputy national security adviser who left the White House last year. In an interview on Tuesday with Fox News, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said that Mr. Trump had mentioned Mr. Waddell by name, along with Mr. Hook and Mr. Kellogg.

Adam Goldman, Edward Wong and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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Trump Ousts John Bolton as National Security Adviser

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Tuesday that he had fired John R. Bolton, his third national security adviser, amid fundamental disagreements over how to handle major foreign policy challenges like Iran, North Korea and most recently Afghanistan.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service.”

Mr. Bolton offered a different version of how the end came in his own message on Twitter shortly afterward. “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,’” Mr. Bolton wrote, without elaborating.

Responding to a question from The New York Times via text message, Mr. Bolton said it was his initiative. “Offered last night without his asking,” he wrote. “Slept on it and gave it to him this morning.”

Mr. Trump said he would appoint someone “next week,” setting off a process that should reveal where the president wants to take his foreign policy in the remaining time before next year’s election. In the meantime, a White House spokesman said Charles Kupperman, the deputy national security adviser, would be his acting adviser.

The national security adviser’s dismissal came so abruptly that it was announced barely an hour after the White House scheduled a briefing for 1:30 p.m. where Mr. Bolton was supposed to appear alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. But Mr. Bolton is reported to have now left the White House.

Mr. Bolton’s departure came as Mr. Trump is pursuing diplomatic openings with some of the United States’ most intractable enemies, efforts that have troubled hard-liners in the administration, like Mr. Bolton, who view North Korea and Iran as profoundly untrustworthy.

He spent much of the last week waging a last-minute battle to prevent Mr. Trump from signing off on a peace agreement with the Taliban militant organization, which he viewed as anathema — a deal that the president was preparing to finalize by inviting the Taliban leaders to Camp David.

Mr. Bolton urged Mr. Trump to reject the agreement, arguing that the president could still withdraw troops from Afghanistan to fulfill his campaign promise without getting in bed with an organization responsible for killing thousands of Americans over the last 18 years.

Mr. Trump ultimately did scrap plans for the Camp David meeting and said on Monday that talks with the Taliban were now “dead.” But Mr. Trump’s aides were furious over news stories reporting that Mr. Bolton opposed the Camp David meeting because they saw them as working against the president’s interests.

Vice President Mike Pence’s camp likewise grew angry at news stories reporting that he also opposed the Camp David invitation, seeing it as an effort by Mr. Bolton’s camp to argue that he was not alone in his position. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence publicly denied the reports, and some White House officials said they believed it was the last straw for the president.

Mr. Bolton saw his job as stopping Mr. Trump from making unwise agreements with America’s enemies. “While John Bolton was national security adviser for the last 17 months, there have been no bad deals,” a person close to Mr. Bolton said minutes after the president’s announcement on Tuesday, reflecting the ousted adviser’s view.

To Mr. Bolton’s aggravation, the president has continued to court Kim Jong-un, the repressive leader of North Korea, despite Mr. Kim’s refusal to surrender his nuclear program and despite repeated short-range missile tests by the North that have rattled its neighbors.

In recent days, Mr. Trump has expressed a willingness to meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran under the right circumstances, and even to extend short-term financing to Tehran, although the offer has so far been rebuffed. Such a meeting could take place later this month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

The rift between the president and his national security adviser owed as much to personality as to policy. The president never warmed to him, a dynamic that is often fatal in this White House. Mr. Bolton’s critics inside the administration said he irritated the president by undermining policies even after they were decided.

At its core, the schism reflected a deep-seated philosophical difference that has characterized the Trump presidency. While given to bellicose language, Mr. Trump came to office deeply skeptical of overseas military adventures and promising negotiations to resolve volatile conflicts. Mr. Bolton, however, has been one of Washington’s most outspoken hawks and unapologetic advocates of American power to defend the country’s interests.

To his admirers, Mr. Bolton was supposed to be a check on what they feared would be naïve diplomacy, a cleareyed realist who would keep a president without prior experience in foreign affairs from giving away the store to wily adversaries. But Mr. Trump has long complained privately that Mr. Bolton was too willing to get the United States into another war.

The tension between the men was aggravated in recent months by the president’s decisions to call off a planned airstrike on Iran in retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone and to meet with Mr. Kim at the Demilitarized Zone and cross over into North Korea.

Westlake Legal Group all-the-major-firings-and-resignations-in-trump-administration-promo-1530825933054-articleLarge Trump Ousts John Bolton as National Security Adviser United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes

The Turnover at the Top of the Trump Administration

Since President Trump’s inauguration, White House staffers and cabinet officials have left in firings and resignations, one after the other.

Mr. Bolton favored the strike on Iran and publicly criticized recent North Korean missile tests that Mr. Trump brushed off. After the president arranged the DMZ meeting with Mr. Kim via a last-minute Twitter message, Mr. Bolton opted not to accompany him and instead proceeded on a previously scheduled trip to Mongolia.

Mr. Bolton’s departure caught White House aides and lawmakers off guard. Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and a former party nominee for the presidency, called the news “an extraordinary loss for our nation and the White House.” Mr. Romney said he was “very, very unhappy.”

“John Bolton is a brilliant man with decades of experience in foreign policy,” he said. “His point of view was not always the same everybody else in the room. That’s why you wanted him there. The fact that he was a contrarian from time to time was an asset, not a liability.”

But senators who have tried to push Mr. Trump away from foreign intervention were pleased. “The threat of war worldwide goes down exponentially with John Bolton out of the White House,” Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, told reporters. “I think his advocacy for regime change around the world is a naïve worldview, and I think that the world will be a much better place with new advisers to the president.”

A former under secretary of state and ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Mr. Bolton, 70, never fully subscribed to Mr. Trump’s courtship of Mr. Kim and privately expressed frustration that the president was unwilling to take more meaningful action to transform the Middle East in the service of American interests.

Mr. Bolton was hamstrung in his ability to steer Mr. Trump in what he saw as the right direction. He also clashed with officials at the Defense Department. At one point, military officials expressed alarm at Mr. Bolton’s requests for contingency war plans.

While in office, Mr. Bolton sought to minimize his differences with the president in public. After Mr. Trump said he would be open to meeting with Mr. Rouhani and even to extending a line of credit to help Tehran get through its financial difficulties while talks proceeded, Mr. Bolton insisted that did not reflect a concession by the president.

“He’ll meet with anybody to talk,” Mr. Bolton told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “He is a negotiator. He is a deal maker. But talking with them does not imply — for President Trump, does not imply changing your position.”

Appointed in spring 2018, Mr. Bolton followed Michael T. Flynn — who stepped down as national security adviser after 24 days and later pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. — and his successor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who never forged a strong connection with the president and was forced out.

In choosing Mr. Bolton, Mr. Trump appreciated his outspoken performances on Fox News and wanted a contrast to the current and retired generals who were perceived as running his foreign policy team. Mr. Bolton also had the strong backing of Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino magnate and Republican megadonor who is a key supporter of Mr. Trump.

Long before Mr. Trump popularized his “America First” slogan, Mr. Bolton termed himself an “Americanist” who prioritized a cold-eyed view of national interests and sovereignty over what they both saw as a fuzzy-headed fixation on democracy promotion and human rights. They shared a deep skepticism of globalism and multilateralism, a commonality that empowered Mr. Bolton to use his time in the White House to orchestrate the withdrawal of the United States from arms control treaties and other international agreements.

With Mr. Trump’s backing, Mr. Bolton likewise helped enact policies meant to pressure the Communist government in Cuba, reversing some but not all of the measures taken by President Barack Obama in a diplomatic opening to the island. Among other things, the Trump administration imposed limits on travel and remittances to Cuba and opened the door to lawsuits by Americans whose property was seized in the revolution in 1959.

But if Mr. Trump’s original national security team was seen as restraining a mercurial new commander in chief, the president found himself sometimes restraining Mr. Bolton. Behind the scenes, he joked about Mr. Bolton’s penchant for confrontation. “If it was up to John, we’d be in four wars now,” one senior official recalled the president saying.

Mr. Trump also grew disenchanted with Mr. Bolton over the failed effort to push out President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Rather than the easy victory he was led to anticipate, the president has found himself bogged down in a conflict over which he has less influence than he had assumed. The political opposition backed by the White House could not turn Venezuela’s military against Mr. Maduro and has been stuck in a stalemate for months.

The divergence between the two men was on display in May during the president’s first trip this year to Japan. After Mr. Bolton told reporters then that “there is no doubt” that North Korean short-range missile launches violated United Nations resolutions, Mr. Trump dismissed the concern, still eager to preserve his strained relationship with Mr. Kim.

“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know,” the president told reporters. “I view it differently.”

Mr. Trump likewise repudiated an idea of working to overthrow the government of Iran, a goal Mr. Bolton long advanced as a private citizen. “We’re not looking for regime change,” Mr. Trump said. “I just want to make that clear.”

After Iran was accused in June of damaging two tankers with explosives and then shot down the drone, Mr. Bolton favored a demonstration of force. He facilitated a recommendation by the national security team for an airstrike against Iranian radar and other facilities, which Mr. Trump initially accepted, only to change his mind at the last minute out of what he said was concern over casualties that would result.

Mr. Bolton’s later absence from Mr. Trump’s trip to the DMZ and hourlong meeting with Mr. Kim seemed conspicuous. Mr. Bolton’s staff said he was only following through on his schedule by going to Mongolia, but right or wrong, it was taken as a sign that he was not fully on board with the president’s diplomatic overture to North Korea.

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Trump Fires John Bolton as National Security Adviser

WASHINGTON — President Trump fired John R. Bolton, his third national security adviser, on Tuesday amid fundamental disagreements over how to handle major foreign policy challenges like Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump announced the decision on Twitter. “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.”

His departure comes as Mr. Trump is pursuing diplomatic openings with two of the United States’ most intractable enemies, efforts that have troubled hard-liners in the administration, like Mr. Bolton, who view North Korea and Iran as profoundly untrustworthy.

The president has continued to court Kim Jong-un, the repressive leader of North Korea, despite Mr. Kim’s refusal to surrender his nuclear program and despite repeated short-range missile tests by the North that have rattled its neighbors. In recent days, Mr. Trump has expressed a willingness to meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran under the right circumstances, and even to extend short-term financing to Tehran, although the offer has so far been rebuffed.

To his admirers, Mr. Bolton was supposed to be a check on what they feared would be naïve diplomacy, a cleareyed realist who would keep a president without prior experience in foreign affairs from giving away the store to wily adversaries. But Mr. Trump has long complained privately that Mr. Bolton was too willing to get the United States into another war.

The tension between the men was aggravated in recent months by the president’s decisions to call off a planned airstrike on Iran in retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone and to meet with Mr. Kim at the Demilitarized Zone and cross over into North Korea.

Mr. Bolton favored the strike on Iran and publicly criticized recent North Korean missile tests that Mr. Trump brushed off. After the president arranged the DMZ meeting with Mr. Kim via a last-minute Twitter message, Mr. Bolton opted not to accompany him and instead proceeded on a previously scheduled trip to Mongolia.

The rift between the president and his national security adviser owed as much to personality as to policy. The president never warmed to him, a dynamic that is often fatal in this White House. Mr. Bolton also clashed with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

At its core, the schism reflected a deep-seated philosophical difference that has characterized the Trump presidency. While given to bellicose language, Mr. Trump came to office deeply skeptical of overseas military adventures and promising negotiations to resolve volatile conflicts. Mr. Bolton, however, has been one of Washington’s most outspoken hawks and unapologetic advocates of American power to defend the country’s interests.

A former under secretary of state and ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Mr. Bolton, 70, never fully subscribed to Mr. Trump’s courtship of Mr. Kim and privately expressed frustration that the president was unwilling to take more meaningful action to transform the Middle East in the service of American interests.

Mr. Bolton was hamstrung in his ability to steer Mr. Trump in what he saw as the right direction. He also clashed with officials at the Defense Department. At one point, military officials expressed alarm at Mr. Bolton’s requests for contingency war plans.

Westlake Legal Group all-the-major-firings-and-resignations-in-trump-administration-promo-1530825933054-articleLarge Trump Fires John Bolton as National Security Adviser United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Bolton, John R Appointments and Executive Changes

The Turnover at the Top of the Trump Administration

Since President Trump’s inauguration, White House staffers and cabinet officials have left in firings and resignations, one after the other.

While in office, Mr. Bolton sought to minimize his differences with the president in public. After Mr. Trump said he would be open to meeting with Mr. Rouhani and even to extending a line of credit to help Tehran get through its financial difficulties while talks proceeded, Mr. Bolton insisted that did not reflect a concession by the president.

“He’ll meet with anybody to talk,” Mr. Bolton told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “He is a negotiator. He is a deal maker. But talking with them does not imply — for President Trump, does not imply changing your position.”

Appointed in spring 2018, Mr. Bolton followed Michael T. Flynn — who stepped down as national security adviser after 24 days and later pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. — and his successor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who never forged a strong connection with the president and was forced out.

In choosing Mr. Bolton, Mr. Trump appreciated his outspoken performances on Fox News and wanted a contrast to the current and retired generals who were perceived as running his foreign policy team. Mr. Bolton also had the strong backing of Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino magnate and Republican megadonor who is a key supporter of Mr. Trump.

Long before Mr. Trump popularized his “America First” slogan, Mr. Bolton termed himself an “Americanist” who prioritized a cold-eyed view of national interests and sovereignty over what they both saw as a fuzzy-headed fixation on democracy promotion and human rights. They shared a deep skepticism of globalism and multilateralism, a commonality that empowered Mr. Bolton to use his time in the White House to orchestrate the withdrawal of the United States from arms control treaties and other international agreements.

With Mr. Trump’s backing, Mr. Bolton likewise helped enact policies meant to pressure the Communist government in Cuba, reversing some but not all of the measures taken by President Barack Obama in a diplomatic opening to the island. Among other things, the Trump administration imposed limits on travel and remittances to Cuba and opened the door to lawsuits by Americans whose property was seized in the revolution in 1959.

But if Mr. Trump’s original national security team was seen as restraining a mercurial new commander in chief, the president found himself sometimes restraining Mr. Bolton. Behind the scenes, he joked about Mr. Bolton’s penchant for confrontation. “If it was up to John, we’d be in four wars now,” one senior official recalled the president saying.

Mr. Trump also grew disenchanted with Mr. Bolton over the failed effort to push out President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Rather than the easy victory he was led to anticipate, the president has found himself bogged down in a conflict over which he has less influence than he had assumed. The political opposition backed by the White House could not turn Venezuela’s military against Mr. Maduro and has been stuck in a stalemate for months.

The divergence between the two men was on display in May during the president’s first trip this year to Japan. After Mr. Bolton told reporters then that “there is no doubt” that North Korean short-range missile launches violated United Nations resolutions, Mr. Trump dismissed the concern, still eager to preserve his strained relationship with Mr. Kim.

“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know,” the president told reporters. “I view it differently.”

Mr. Trump likewise repudiated an idea of working to overthrow the government of Iran, a goal Mr. Bolton long advanced as a private citizen. “We’re not looking for regime change,” Mr. Trump said. “I just want to make that clear.”

After Iran was accused in June of damaging two tankers with explosives and then shot down the drone, Mr. Bolton favored a demonstration of force. He facilitated a recommendation by the national security team for an airstrike against Iranian radar and other facilities, which Mr. Trump initially accepted only to change his mind at the last minute out of what he said was concern over casualties that would result.

Mr. Bolton’s later absence from Mr. Trump’s trip to the DMZ and hourlong meeting with Mr. Kim seemed conspicuous. Mr. Bolton’s staff said he was only following through on his schedule by going to Mongolia, but right or wrong, it was taken as a sign that he was not fully on board with the president’s diplomatic overture to North Korea.

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Jack Ma Is Retiring From Alibaba. He Won’t Go Far.

HONG KONG — Jack Ma formally retired on Tuesday from Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant he founded that helped transform the way hundreds of millions of people shop and made him one of the world’s richest men.

But despite the elaborate celebrations the company held on Tuesday to commemorate his departure, Mr. Ma isn’t going far.

On paper, Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s chief executive, will succeed the 55-year-old Mr. Ma as executive chairman. Mr. Ma has said he will devote his time to philanthropy, especially rural education.

“I’m not going to stop doing things,” he told a women’s entrepreneurship event in late August. “Alibaba is but one of my dreams. I’m still young.”

Alibaba on Tuesday evening celebrated Mr. Ma’s retirement — which also coincides with his birthday and the company’s 20th anniversary — with 80,000 of its employees in the Olympic Stadium in Hangzhou, the eastern city where the company has its headquarters. Plans included a parade of staff members in costumes, music and skits onstage, according to an Alibaba spokesman.

Mr. Ma, however, will remain a considerable force at the company. He is a lifetime member of the Alibaba Partnership, a group of a few dozen employees with tremendous power over the company’s board and leadership, as well as its bonus pool.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_139122654_ba17913a-84b5-46ea-bf6e-fc6afefc2f34-articleLarge Jack Ma Is Retiring From Alibaba. He Won’t Go Far. Zhang, Daniel (1972- ) Ma, Jack E-Commerce China Appointments and Executive Changes Alipay Alibaba Group Holding Ltd

Sculptures on the campus of the Alibaba Group in Hangzhou.CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times

The partnership also holds sway over key licenses that Alibaba requires in order to do business on the mainland. While Alibaba is traded in New York and its shares are held by global investors, Beijing requires Chinese nationals to control licenses that many companies need to keep doing business there.

Perhaps most crucially, Mr. Ma will still control the parent company of Alipay, the Chinese online payment system used in many of Alibaba’s digital marketplaces. That business fiercely competes with WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings, which has become a power in online payments in China, giving Mr. Ma a continuing challenge on the business front.

Starting as a company that aimed to connect Chinese manufacturers with small foreign businesses, Alibaba struck gold when it switched its focus to become an online marketplace for Chinese sellers and consumers. Its rise coincided with the spread of internet culture in China and, later, smartphones, transforming Chinese society into one where consumers can buy products, services and even investment products with a tap of a screen.

The company has grown into a commercial behemoth, with arguably the deepest reach into the country’s economy of all Chinese businesses.

Alibaba’s rise was cemented in 2014 when its initial public offering in New York raised over $21 billion. It also cemented his personal wealth, and by many counts he is China’s richest man. The Hurun Report, a research organization in Shanghai that tracks the wealthy in China, estimates his wealth at $38 billion.

Alibaba also owns China’s biggest cloud-computing business and one of its biggest meal-delivery services and logistics networks. Overall, the company is still growing at a healthy pace.

Alibaba could face more challenges. The Chinese economy is slowing, the United States is waging a trade war against China and the Chinese government has become more ambivalent about the role that private enterprises play in its economy. Mr. Ma is also leaving the executive chairman’s job just as the world has woken up to the huge power that technology giants wage over societies.

“We strove for bigger and stronger companies in the last century,” Mr. Ma said in a speech at a business event earlier this year. “Today we need to think how to create good companies. We need to make our clients, society, employees, ourselves and our families happy. Only good companies like this can last.”

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Saudi King Appoints a Son, Prince Abdulaziz, as Energy Minister

Westlake Legal Group 08saudi-sub-facebookJumbo Saudi King Appoints a Son, Prince Abdulaziz, as Energy Minister Saudi Aramco Saudi Arabia Salman, King of Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Appointments and Executive Changes Abdulaziz bin Salman, Prince of Saudi Arabia

BEIRUT, Lebanon — King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Sunday named his son Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as energy minister, putting a member of the royal family for the first time in one of the kingdom’s most important roles, as part of a wider shake-up of top energy-sector jobs.

The appointment of Prince Abdulaziz, an older half brother of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, brings to an end a long line of commoner technocrats charged with overseeing energy policy for the world’s largest oil exporter.

Prince Abdulaziz, who has been minister of state for energy affairs since 2017, replaces Khalid al-Falih, who was removed last week as board chairman of Aramco, a company that he once ran as chief executive. The move announced on Sunday is likely to surprise oil market participants, who had mostly assumed that the departing energy minister would retain that portfolio, which includes sway over Saudi production policy.

Mr. al-Falih was perhaps the most closely watched figure in the oil industry, and his words are carefully weighed by the markets. He was long seen as a key player in the kingdom’s reform plans, but his removal from the Aramco board has prompted speculation that Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, believed he had failed to make sufficient progress on the reforms.

Last month, the king created a new ministry to oversee mining and industry, removing those sectors from the control of the Energy Ministry.

The moves come as Saudi Arabia struggles with low oil prices while seeking to make the country less dependent on oil. It is also seeking to publicly sell shares of the state-owned oil giant, Saudi Aramco, to raise money to pay for a sweeping overhaul of the kingdom.

Until Prince Abdulaziz was named energy minister, the task of overseeing energy policy for the world’s largest oil exporter had traditionally fallen to commoner technocrats. Members of the Saudi royal family tended to stay out of the oil business, the thinking being that it was better to leave it to the professionals and not risk oil policy getting tied up in royal intrigue.

Prince Abdulaziz was an exception. He earned a master’s degree in industrial management from the University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, and served as an adviser to a previous energy minister, Ali al-Naimi.

A veteran oil diplomat, Prince Abdulaziz has long been a fixture at O.P.E.C. meetings and other energy gatherings. He is well regarded by people in the industry, including officials from countries like Iran that are at odds with Saudi Arabia.

Because of his long experience in the oil and energy sector, analysts did not expect him to significantly change the kingdom’s energy policies.

Mr. al-Falih was replaced by Yasir al-Rumayyan, who lacks significant experience in the oil sector but who is close to Prince Mohammed and leads the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.

The removal of Mr. al-Falih appears to indicate dissatisfaction on the part of the Saudi leadership with oil prices, but analysts say that Prince Abdulaziz will have a difficult time improving on the performance of his predecessor.

“The challenge for the new minister is the same as for the old minister,” said Bill Farren-Price, a director at RS Energy, a market research firm. “The leadership may want to see prices much higher than they are at the moment, but it is difficult to see how to achieve that without Saudi Arabia cutting a lot more.”

Since becoming oil minister, Mr. al-Falih orchestrated production cuts with Russia and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that did help boost prices, which had fallen below $30 a barrel for Brent crude, the international benchmark. to the current levels of around $$62 per barrel.

Strong production growth from the United States has offset the cutbacks from Saudi Arabia and other producers. In addition, worries about a weakening global economy that might reduce demand for oil have weighed on prices in recent months.

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