Remember when FBI Director Comey was fired? He was in California at the time, giving a speech, and learned of the dismissal via a news broadcast. Why then?
Why not wait until the man had returned to DC? My initial reaction
I was gobsmacked to learn that Comey got the bad news while giving a speech in California; at first, he thought that the TV headlines were an elaborate prank. Cable news covered his exit motorcade as though he were OJ in the Bronco. On reflection, I could understand why Trump decided to pounce while the FBI Director was out of town.
Recall what Grant Stern said: "Totally explains what I just heard through a 3rd party source about offices in the FBI being sealed."
Curt Gentry's J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets -- the most respected of the Hoover bios --contains a fascinating (and well-sourced) account of the scramble for Hoover's blackmail files immediately after he joined the Choir Invisible. I suspect that a similar scramble is going on right now.
The next day, Claude Taylor -- whose rep was then relatively untarnished -- wrote the following:
Source: Comey's firing timed to coincide with his trip to Los Angeles in order to gain immediate access to Comey's computer systems/files.
By this point the very mention of Taylor's name causes most of us to sigh and roll our eyes, but back then things were different. Some of his stories turned out to be legit.
At any rate, the idea makes basic sense -- as long as one is willing to concede that gaining access to that computer was possible.
Let us now look at a more recent Trump administration official with employment issues.
About a week ago, Keith Schiller -- Trump's longtime bodyguard, aide, pal, hired muscle, Oval Office director and "emotional binky" (whatever that
means) -- up and quit
Schiller has told associates within the last two weeks that he plans to leave the White House at the end of September or in early October, the sources said. Schiller has told people his primary reason for leaving was financial, the sources said. Schiller earns a $165,000 annual salary at the White House -- a downgrade from his annual earnings before he followed Trump to the White House.
I'm not sure that money was the sole motive. Before being hired by Trump, Schiller was a retired NYPD cop; most other retired cops live on somewhere between 70K-100k. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that quitting the White House could result in a pay decrease
. (This site
says that Schiller's pre-White House income was $294,000.)
Newsweek offered some interesting background
Keith Schiller, the former Trump Organization security chief whom the president has brought into the White House as director of Oval Office operations, has a long trail of tax liens and mortgage foreclosures, according to financial records reviewed by Newsweek.
Schiller and his wife Lena were sued three times for unpaid taxes, once by New York State and twice by the IRS, the last instance as recently as four years ago, publicly available records show. A decade ago, two of their properties, one in New York and one in Florida, were foreclosed for nonpayment.
In other words, we're talking about a guy who might possibly benefit from one of those presidential pardons that have been so much in the news recently.
Why (you may be wondering) did I shift from Comey to Schiller? Here's why: Keith Schiller was the man charged with delivering the "You're fired" letter to James Comey.
Who, I remind you, was in California.
Nevertheless, Schiller delivered his message to the FBI headquarter in DC
, "entering the FBI headquarters with a manila folder and leaving without it."
What, I wonder, did Schiller actually do
inside that building? With whom did he speak? Who took receipt of the envelope?
Let us posit -- just for shits-n-giggles -- that Claude Taylor's source was on the level. Is there any conceivable way that Schiller's sojourn within that building might have aided an effort to gain access to Comey's computer?
I'm not suggesting that Schiller was the one who gained access to the computer. A job like that doesn't sound like it would be in Schiller's wheelhouse. The actual dirty work might have been accomplished by an "inside man" -- perhaps someone on the janitorial staff, perhaps one of those Giuliani loyalists.
Schiller, as a private citizen, will have every right to take a gig on foreign shores, which could place him outside of Mueller's grasp. He does head up a private firm called KS Global.
I bet you're now dying to tell me that I've seen too many spy movies. And maybe I have. So howzabout you
why Trump couldn't have waited a couple of days until Comey returned to DC...?