They’re dropping like flies and rats jumping off the Titanic.
Word on Tuesday is that a top aide to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be leaving the Department of Justice by the end of the week. Scott Schools, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, is out.
The job title for Schools — associate deputy attorney general — belied his importance as a strategic counselor and repository of institutional memory and ethics at the DOJ. Schools has played a critical, if behind-the-scenes, role in some of the most important and sensitive issues in the building.
This year, Schools recommended that then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe be fired for a “lack of candor” in an internal investigation.
Earlier, he advised former acting Attorney General Sally Yates about the boundaries of her congressional testimony in early 2016. And more recently, Schools has been photographed near the offices of Russia special counsel Robert Mueller, as one of a few top DOJ aides to get regular briefings on the status of that investigation.
Interesting. Schools slipped into that position when Rachel Brand stepped down. And now he’s out too.
“Scott has provided invaluable leadership and counsel in his years at the department, and his service is an example to all,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a written statement. “He will be greatly missed, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
The final clause in that statement is code words for “you’re out of here,” even if there is no other indication of Schools being actually fired. It is said that he is going to a job in the private sector and his departure contributes to the “brain drain” at Justice.
As for Schools, Slate magazine called him “the most important unknown person in D.C.” And that status has only grown as his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, has found himself on defense among Republicans in Congress over the Mueller investigation.
Or it could just be that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is busy gathering the goods to clean house.
Schools will be replaced, on an acting basis, by Bradley Weinsheimer, who currently works in the national security unit. Weinsheimer has spent 27 years at DOJ, where he tried homicide and public corruption cases.
Unlike Schools, Weinsheimer will not supervise or otherwise be involved in overseeing the special counsel team probing Russian election interference and whether any Americans tied to the Trump campaign took part.