In the story above, Kurtz claims that “on Friday afternoon”, Fordham tried to cut this deal. The ABC story that he was trying to prevent was filed at 3:02pm. The first story, about the “over-friendly” emails (as opposed to the graphic IMs), was filed at 3:06pm the previous day.
This is the first confirmation, to my knowledge, that Fordham was there before the IM story broke. (In the post I linked to above, Glenn Greenwald claims that that fact is in this story, but in fact it’s quite ambiguous about when Fordham showed up, reporting on Saturday that Fordham had “returned to Foley’s side to advise him during the past couple of days.” TPM’s timeline puts Fordham’s appearance on Saturday the 30th, citing the same story.)
Before the IM story broke, of course, only the emails had been made public. Reynolds, of course, had known about these emails for months;
[…] I find it odd that Reynolds would loan out his chief of staff to Foley, at a time when he’s in the middle of a very tough race and working as head of the NRCC in the middle of a very tough election season (and yes, I know that federal workers are not supposed to work on campaigns, but I would find it flatly incredible that a chief of staff would not be involved in both, or that his presence just wouldn’t be missed. And, as John Aravosis notes, it would be nice to know whether he’s advising Foley at the taxpayers’ expense.) I find it especially intriguing that Reynolds would lend out his chief of staff before, not after, the IM story broke. At that time, all that had been made public were the emails — the ones that, according to Reynolds, had failed to raise any red flags before.
It could be that Reynolds is just very generous with his staff’s time. Someone asks him to loan out his chief of staff, and he’s always ready to oblige. It could be that Foley called Reynolds or Fordham after the first story, confessed all, and asked for Fordham’s help. Or it could be that Fordham was dispatched to ensure that Foley resigned and/or to contain the damage. (Since Foley has now confessed to being an alcoholic, he might have been in the middle of a major meltdown.) In this latter case, I can’t really see Reynolds taking this step without consulting with the House leadership.
In any case, it would be nice to know why, exactly, Fordham showed up when there was nothing known to the public that would explain his presence. If the answer is something along the lines of my third hypothesis, it would also be nice to know how Reynolds knew that there was enough to this story that he needed to dispatch his chief of staff, at what had to have been the worst possible time, to deal with it.
Indeed it seems difficult to explain how Reynolds knew to send his Harvey Keitel (Wolf or the Cleaner, take your pick) before the truly damning story broke. Foley may well have called Reynolds that morning to confess that he was in a whole world of shit, but barring that it seems impossible not to conclude that Reynolds knew the full contours of this story well before the rest of us did.
And if Reynolds knew then it would have been criminally negligent of him to hide his knowledge from the House leadership. The meltdown of Illinois Sentate candidate Jack Ryan demonstrated that you can lie about your foibles to the public (I dare anybody to make it in politics without doing so) but you don’t lie to your party.
Glenn Greenwald also notes that the chief of staff in question – Kirk Fordham – sits at the middle of the entire scandal. Fordham served as Foley’s chief of staff. Then he served as Reynolds’s chief of staff. Then, the day after the fist hint of trouble came out but before the real shit hit the fan, Fordham went into damage control mode for his old boss. People at his level pf responsibility, waist-deep in an existential battle for control of the House, don’t freelance that sort of job. What did he tell Reynolds to get himself reassigned? Did he have to tell Reynolds anything?
Puts a nice frame on the story doesn’t it.
Treat this as an open thread for everything Foley-related.