NBC News President Noah Oppenheim announced Thursday morning that legendary Justice Department and Supreme Court correspondent Pete Williams will be retiring from the news organization.
Williams, who has been with NBC News for nearly three decades, has been at the forefront of many breaking news stories coming out of Washington, DC. These include the court cases dealing with the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality.
Earlier this year, Williams was the one who broke the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer would retire at the end of the current term.
He was one of the first reporters to alert the world that the Pentagon had been hit during the attacks of 9/11—and he was part of the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
In a note to NBC News staff, Oppenheim described Williams as “quite simply one of the most respected, trusted, and steadfast names in news.” He added that “his career has been defined by his reputation for accuracy, reliability and unmatched expertise in the subjects he covers.”
Before joining NBC News, Williams was a Pentagon spokesperson during the George H. W. Bush presidency—and before that, he was the press secretary for then Rep. Dick Cheney.
He began his journalism career in Wyoming, working as a reporter and news director for KTWO television and radio stations.
Williams has agreed to remain with NBC News until sometime in July.
Read the full memo from Oppenheim to NBC News staff below:
For the last 29 years, Pete Williams has set the bar for all of us. He is quite simply one of the most respected, trusted and steadfast names in news. And, so, today it is with decidedly mixed emotions that I share with you his plans to sign off from NBC News for the final time later this summer.
Pete has been one of the nation’s foremost authorities covering the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice for nearly three decades. His career has been defined by his reputation for accuracy, reliability, and unmatched expertise in the subjects he covers.
From the most consequential Supreme Court cases of our time—like marriage equality and the legal battles over the Affordable Care Act—to major breaking news events—like 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing and so much more—Pete’s reporting has always been ironclad. His ability to break down the most complex and fast-developing situations is uncanny.
There are too many scoops, firsts, exclusives, and interviews to count: Pete breaking the news of Justice Breyer’s retirement; his reporting on the January 6th investigation; his poignant remarks on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral; and his interviews with FBI Director Christopher Wray and former Attorney General Bill Barr.
In short, for generations of NBC News reporters, working alongside Pete has been a daily masterclass in journalism. But perhaps more importantly, it has been a masterclass in what it means to be a good colleague. Pete’s decency, kindness, and generosity are unmatched. For those that know Pete well, it’s his warmth, humor, wit, and compassion that will be missed most.
Pete has agreed to stay on with us through July, which allows for countless more opportunities to celebrate him.
So, please join me in congratulating Pete on an extraordinary career and on this much-deserved next chapter—a chapter I hope is filled with more jazz, drums, theater, and many trips to London and home to Wyoming with David.
As they say, “In Pete We Trust.”