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Ron Klain, White House chief of staff, plans to step down

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Ron Klain, President Biden’s chief of staff, plans to step down in the coming weeks after playing a central role in steering the administration through its first two years, according to two people familiar with his plans.

Klain’s departure will mark a significant turning point in Biden’s tenure, as he will become the first member of Biden’s inner circle to leave the White House. His exit also comes just as Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, with plans to launch investigations of the administration, and as Biden is expected to launch his reelection campaign within weeks.

Klain, whose plans were first reported by the New York Times, has not set an official exit date. He has told colleagues he will stay on through the State of the Union address on Feb. 7 and will assist with the transition to his successor, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Among the candidates to succeed Klain are Jeff Zients, who coordinated the administration’s coronavirus response; Anita Dunn, a senior adviser; and Steve Ricchetti, who was Biden’s chief of staff as vice president and now serves as a counselor to Biden.

Neither Klain nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment.

Klain, 61, became the White House chief of staff after serving in the same role for Biden at the start of his vice presidency and holding other senior positions in the Obama and Clinton administrations. In the Biden White House, he rose to become one of the most powerful chiefs of staff in decades, with a voracious work ethic and a constant stream of tweets.

Klain is credited with directing much of Biden’s legislative and political success over the past two years. His departure comes after a particularly successful stretch for Biden, including a better-than-expected midterm result for Democrats and a flurry of legislative victories, including a wide-ranging social spending bill, a massive investment in the domestic semiconductor industry and gun control legislation.

But Klain’s resignation will also come as a special counsel begins investigating the handling of classified documents found at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del. and his private office in Washington, potentially casting a shadow over the opening months of the second half of Biden’s term.

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