Kelly O’Donnell Will Lead NBC News’ Supreme Court Coverage on Interim Basis Following Pete Williams’ Exit

By A.J. Katz 

The NBC News Washington bureau has shared some correspondent promotions and assignment changes on the justice beat, ahead of Pete Williamsretirement at the end of July.

Williams has covered the DOJ and the Supreme Court for NBC News for nearly three decades.

Following Williams’ departure, NBC News Supreme Court coverage will be led on an interim basis by Kelly O’Donnell, who adds to her responsibilities as Senior White House Correspondent. She will oversee reporting and analysis of SCOTUS until a full-time courts correspondent is hired.


O’Donnell has been covering official Washington for NBC News since the Clinton administration—and her political reporting has taken her around the country, covering every presidential election since 1996.

Ken Dilanian will be elevated to the role of Justice and Intelligence Correspondent. A six-year NBC News veteran, Dilanian has broken exclusives on the 2016 election, the Trump impeachment hearings, the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Havana Syndrome affecting U.S. diplomats abroad—and North Korean nuclear weapons development. In September of last year, he reported live from Guantanamo Bay during the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

NBC News Correspondent Julia Ainsley, who covers DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security, will serve as NBC News’ Homeland Security Correspondent.

Since Pres. Biden took office, Ainsley has broken stories on budget shortfalls at DHS and possible surges in migrants with the proposed lift of Title 42, as well as DHS plans to alleviate overcrowding at the border by transporting migrants deeper into the country.

Finally, WNBC’s chief investigative reporter and NBC News contributing correspondent Jonathan Dienst will continue to work closely with Tom Winter, Mike Kosnar and NBC News’ investigative teams in both New York and Washington as Chief Justice Contributor.