Trump Poised to Name Long-Awaited Hostage Czar

As Trump celebrates the return of Americans held in North Korea, advocates for hostages in Iran, elsewhere continue to press for action

Image Credits: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Getty.

The long-awaited Trump administration appointment of a hostage czar to coordinate its efforts to win the freedom of Americans imprisoned overseas is expected to be coming soon on the heels of the White House celebration of North Korea’s release of three American hostages.

White House and State Department officials have been interviewing candidates for months and have recently selected Robert O’Brien, an attorney who served in the George W. Bush administration’s State Department and as the top partner at law firm Arent Fox’s California offices, according to knowledgeable sources.

Robert O’Brien is not to be confused with Jim O’Brien, who served several years as the Obama administration’s hostage czar, officially called the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

A National Security Council spokesman in February told the Washington Free Beacon that the administration is trying to find the “right, qualified candidate for this important role, and we will.”

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