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Investigative Leads: Who’s Running the Biden White House?

On June 29, EIR took note of a number of useful investigative leads provided by news coverage of the Biden White House and its current occupant’s stunning performance in his debate with Donald Trump. A June 28 article by Seymour Hersh identified both Tom Donilon and his younger brother Mike Donilon as part of the inner circle around Biden. A June 22 New York Times piece headlined “The Insiders: The 3 Men at the Core of Biden’s Brain Trust,” pointed to the trio of Mike Donilon (a long-time senior adviser to Biden), Ron Klain (White House chief of staff from 2021 to 2023), and former Sen. Ted Kaufman (DE).

EIR noted previously that both Tom Donilon and Ron Klain are or have been partners at the elite Los Angeles-based law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Tom Donilon is currently Senior Of Counsel there; and Klain left the Biden administration in 2023 to become a partner and head of the Strategic Counseling and Crisis Management Practice at O’Melveny. On Nov. 20, 2023, Airbnb announced that he would become their Chief Legal Counsel as of Jan. 1, 2024.

Tom Donilon is currently Chairman of the BlackRock Investment Institute, and he is also a leading member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Strategy Group, the Brookings Institution Board of Trustees, and the Trilateral Commission.

The man who made Tom Donilon’s career, by his own account, was Warren Christopher, Secretary of State from 1993-1997, during Bill Clinton’s first term in office. In an April 7, 2021 interview with Richard Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Donilon was unambiguous: “I think that I really went in, made the move from politics … to foreign policy, national security, because of a lawyer, because of a lawyer who was my mentor at O’Melveny & Myers, the law firm you mentioned, who was Warren Christopher, who ultimately went on to become secretary of state. And he was the best example I had ever met of purposeful mentorship.… And it was the most important decision I ever made because we became very close, we became law partners.”

At State, Christopher played a key role in the expansion of NATO. During the 1992 presidential election, Christopher headed Bill Clinton’s search for a running mate, and selected Al Gore. Gore stayed on as VP during the second Clinton administration, and on March 23, 1999 was instrumental in the decision to launch bombing raids against Yugoslavia, at the exact time that then Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was flying across the Atlantic to meet with President Clinton—who was looking to establish a solid working relationship with Russia, including collaboration around “a new financial architecture.” As EIR wrote in February 2014, “Primakov received a call from Gore saying that the U.S. will not postpone the planned bombing raids against Yugoslavia. Primakov ordered the plane turned around in mid-flight and returned to Moscow. EIR's information is that the decision on the bombing was made by the so-called Principals Committee, against the will of President Clinton.”

So, there is a long pedigree to Tom Donilon’s current efforts to try to drive a permanent wedge between the U.S. and Russia, going back to his early years with Christopher at O’Melveny. Warren Christopher practiced law at O’Melveny from 1950-1967, and was a senior partner at the time of his death in 2011.

EIR had O’Melveny on its radar screen as far back as 1993. In a Feb. 5, 1993 article “Who’s Who in the Clinton Administration,” EIR wrote:

“Meanwhile, Christopher had become chairman of O’Melveny and Myers, which has been his base of operations while not in government service. That firm traditionally has been entrusted with handling legal matters for major financial institutions, and for the entertainment sector. Under Christopher, its clients include Security Pacific; Northrop; the Bank of New York; Lockheed; Trust National Bank of Chicago; Goldman Sachs and Co.; the City of Los Angeles; … David Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank; Dr. Henry A. Kissinger; Citibank; Salomon Brothers, Inc.; IBM; The Irvine Company; the Club of Rome and the Aspen Institute’s major sponsor, Atlantic Richfield; … CBS; Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc.;” and many others.

“Under Christopher’s chairmanship, the firm has attempted to develop international ties. It has established joint operations with the London firm Macfarlanes, and has opened an office in Japan and taken on a number of Japanese clients including Industrial Bank of Japan, Japan Airlines, Toyota Motor Co., Nippon Oil, Nippon Steel, Marubeni, and C. Itoh and Co.”

As for Macfarlanes, that deserves a memo of its own. Suffice it to say that it is regarded as forming part of the “Silver Circle” of leading U.K. law firms. As a law firm, it specializes in hedge funds and personal finances for the wealthy. According to the Macfarlanes website: “We represent hedge funds, corporate treasuries, financial institutions, managed account platforms, asset managers and high-net-worth individuals in structuring, negotiating and executing complex and bespoke derivative instruments.”