Politico

Trump national security adviser returns to the White House


Robert O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, is returning to work at the White House following a mild case of the coronavirus, according to an administration official.

O’Brien is resuming in-person duties on Tuesday, having been cleared by doctors after two negative tests in a row and a week of being asymptomatic. During his self-isolation period, O’Brien worked remotely from his house, which has a secure facility that lets him view classified information.

Early on in the illness, O’Brien experienced mild, cold-like symptoms. His return to work has been dictated by doctors and is consistent with CDC guidelines, according to the official.

O’Brien contracted the virus while on a short vacation with his family; his college-age daughter had become ill first. He tested positive for the virus on July 23, and the news, which caught some National Security Council aides by surprise, broke three and a half days later, although NSC staffers who interacted with O’Brien did get tested.

In March, O’Brien and his deputy Matthew Pottinger took steps to prevent a potential outbreak within the NSC by dividing the council’s front-office support staff in half and running each half from different offices. A few months ago, Pottinger returned with his front-office staff to the NSC suite in the West Wing, but staff members practice social distancing and mask-wearing, according to the official.

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