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Trump Security Chief Turned White House Aide Called As Witness In Russia Probe

It’s been a couple of weeks since the mainstream media has ID’d a Trump associate who’s been drawn into the ongoing investigations in the alleged collusion between the campaign and Russia. Today’s disclosure comes courtesy of ABC, which identified longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller as a possible witness. Congressional investigators allegedly want to interview Schiller, the former head of security for the Trump Organization who currently serves as the White House director of Oval Office operations.

Here’s ABC:

“Congressional investigators now want to interview Keith Schiller, President Donald Trump’s longtime bodyguard-turned-White House aide, as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News.

 

Schiller, the former head of security for the Trump Organization who now serves as the White House director of Oval Office operations, is one of several Trump associates on the House Intelligence Committee’s witness list in its ongoing investigation into Russian election interference.

ABC claims that the committee’s decision to interview Schiller marks a “new phase” in the investigation, which is examining how Russia attempted to influence the election, the Obama administration’s response and allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials. But it's unclear exactly what the news organization means by this.

"The committee’s focus on Schiller and other Trump campaign officials and associates marks a new phase in the investigation -- which is examining how Russia attempted to influence the election, the Obama administration’s response and allegations of collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials.

 

“It's the latest indication that the investigations are touching Trump's inner circle. In late July, longtime Trump associate Roger Stone is expected to appear before congressional investigators for a closed-door interview. The growing list of other Trump associates the committee has said they want to meet includes former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.”

To date, Kushner, Stone, Flynn and Manafort have all volunteered to cooperate with the ongoing investigations and have denied any wrongdoing. Notably, ABC’s report is devoid of any details about the questions Schiller might be asked, or the circumstances surrounding whatever it is he may have witnessed. But, as is becoming tradition with these anonymously sourced reports about the Russia investigation, the most telling details can be found at the bottom of the story.

“One White House official was unsurprised to learn that Schiller has been contacted. As the investigations expand, several White House aides have expressed privately to ABC News that they are expecting to hear from Congress or the special counsel.”

That’s right: Schiller is being called as a witness because it’s likely that EVERYBODY EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE to the president is being summoned to speak with investigators. As ABC noted lower down in the story, special counsel Robert Mueller has already interviewed dozens of witnesses as part of its probe. Schiller, a former NYPD officer, has been at Trump’s side for nearly 20 years, and is one of his closest advisers and aides -- playing the role of a body man, confidant and gatekeeper for the businessman-turned-president.

Perhaps investigators will focus on the circumstances surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey – a decision for which the Trump administration has provided multiple conflicting explanations, provoking outrage from Democrats. According to ABC, Schiller played a small role in the firing of Comey.

When Trump made the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, it was Schiller who hand-delivered the letter of termination from the president to FBI headquarters.

Schiller typically keeps a low profile, though ABC notes that he headlines during the campaign after hitting a protester outside Trump Tower and ejecting Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from a Trump campaign press conference. Investigators appear to have a wide remit to interview Trump associates, and it’s looking increasingly likely that they won’t be satisfied until every single person in Trump’s orbit has been interviewed. Who knows? Maybe Anthony Senecal, the Mar-a-Lago butler who was the subject of his very own New York Times profile during the campaign, will be next?