12/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Top McCain Aide Secretly Fired Last Week For "Trashing" Staffers

CNN reports that senior McCain aide, and chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann was fired a week before Election Day for "trashing" McCain staffers to the press over their handling of Sarah Palin:

Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, was fired from the Arizona senator's campaign last week for what one aide called "trashing" the campaign staff, three senior McCain advisers tell CNN.

One of the aides tells CNN that campaign manager Rick Davis fired Scheunemann after determining that he had been in direct contact with journalists spreading "disinformation" about campaign aides, including Nicolle Wallace and other officials.

The New York Times adds that the McCain campaign pegged Bill Kristol as the most likely recipient of Scheunemann's attacks against fellow McCain staffers:

Whatever the permutations, the advisers said they strongly believed that Mr. Scheunemann was disclosing, as one put it, "a constant stream of poison" to William Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard and a columnist for The New York Times.

Mr. Kristol, who wrote a column on Oct. 13 calling on Mr. McCain to fire his campaign because it was "close to being out-and-out dysfunctional," said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the campaign advisers were paranoid. Mr. Kristol has been a strong supporter of Ms. Palin.

"I wasn't writing poison," Mr. Kristol said. He added that "Randy Scheunemann is a friend of mine and I think he did a good job. I talked to him, but I talked to a lot of people at the campaign."

Scheunemann himself disputes that he was fired. Fellow aide Michael Goldfarb tries to back him up, and doesn't really succeed:

However, Goldfarb did concede that Scheunemann's campaign e-mail was cut off, and his blackberry was taken away late Friday. Goldfarb admits that senior McCain aides were mad at Scheunemann, and wanted to fire him, but he insists they stopped short of that, and instead simply turned off his campaign communication.

RELATED: Behind The Scenes: Newsweek On McCain In The Dark, Obama Threats, And More

RELATED: Palin Didn't Understand Africa Was A Continent

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?