Scott Schools, Rod Rosenstein’s top aide in charge of overseeing Robert Mueller’s grand inquisition, stunned Washington earlier this week by suddenly calling it quits. He promises that his desk will be cleaned out by Friday. Whoever sits in that desk is an important “fixer,” given “all the hottest potatoes.” President Donald Trump’s “TV Nemesis” Rachel Maddow is “unnerved” that the DOJ’s top troubleshooter “has left with no explanation.”
“The Deep State DOJ official partially responsible for the out of control Mueller investigation is leaving,” Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch tweeted yesterday. He thinks he knows the reason. “Mueller and Rosenstein are on borrowed time and it appears Scott Schools knows this and exited stage left before he was forced out.”
He wrote the only article about Schools to ever appear in print, which makes him the resident expert.
Neyfakh began by pointing out that when Schools took over for David Margolis in October of 2016, he was certain that Hillary Clinton would win the election. Margolis held the post for two entire decades and Schools expected a similar span in the job.
As the Slate reporter noted, Schools decided to take another opportunity “but maybe the opportunity just looks better when you hate your job.”
Just what was that job? “The thorniest, most sensitive situations go to his desk.” Rod Rosenstein most likely went straight to Schools asking if he should appoint a special counsel or not.
Schools most likely made the recommendation not only to start the witch hunt but to appoint Robert Mueller to lead the inquisition.
Rosenstein and other top officials were coached by Schools on what to say when they testified to Congress. More importantly, he told them what not to say.
The job of associate deputy attorney general is knowing where all the bodies are buried, or as they call it on Capitol Hill, “institutional memory.” They “deal with weird situations.” The ones with “political complications,” Neyfakh explains. “All the hottest potatoes.”
For example, Neyfakh relates Schools’ predecessor Margolis “was in the room when the decision was made not to prosecute Hillary Clinton.”
Years before that, Margolis “was the one who was sent to the office of Vince Foster,” after the deputy White House Counsel committed suicide. “The most sensitive situations are the ones this job gets.”
Schools was present at a January 10, 2018 meeting of the “Gang of Eight” House leaders. Devin Nunes (R-Ca) made it clear he wanted records and wanted them immediately. Rod Rosenstein mouthed off and threatened to start investigating Nunes in retaliation.
By carefully analyzing what was said, Schools was able to diffuse the threat by relating it to a perfectly normal request for production in the event Rosenstein would have to respond to legal action by Nunes. Those who were there still know it was a threat though.
Schools was with the Justice Department for 27 years. Bradley Weinsheimer has already been named as his replacement, bumped up from the national security unit. Weinsheimer will not be working on the Mueller investigation.
During his tenure as associate deputy attorney general, Schools preferred to stay “behind the scenes” but he was the one who recommended Andrew McCabe be fired from his job as Deputy FBI Director for “lack of candor.”
There was nothing Schools could do to protect him after McCabe blatantly lied to congressional investigators and was caught at it.
Sally Yates also sat down with him to rehearse her testimony before she was interrogated in 2016 about unmasking the Trump tower recordings.
Schools has been extensively involved in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into alleged Russian involvement with the elections. He is one of a select few “top DOJ aides” who are briefed regularly on the investigation’s status.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a written statement to make the move official. “Scott has provided invaluable leadership and counsel in his years at the department, and his service is an example to all. He will be greatly missed, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Reading between the lines, that was an acknowledgment of his long and faithful service but “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.” He wasn’t “pushed out” though.
More likely, Schools headed for greener pastures because he can read the writing on the wall. Sources familiar with the matter say “it may be because Rosenstein is facing impeachment and contempt charges.”
Deadline after deadline has passed for the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation to turn crucial investigation records over to congressional watchdog committees. Lawmakers have totally lost their patience.
The latest line in the sand gives Rosenstein 7 days from earlier this week “to turn over requested classified documents or face impeachment.”
Instead of packing all the boxes of records into a truck and driving them over to the hearing room, the FBI has been trickling them out little by little, producing only meaningless fluff and tucking anything that might be damaging to the bottom of the pile. They hope if they drag their feet long enough, these documents will never see the light of day.
Mueller is taking heat from another side as well. One of the Russian companies that were implicated by the special counsel is fighting back.