Republican strategist Rick Wilson, Politico’s Nancy Cook, former managing editor at TIME Magazine Rick Stengel, Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude, and former White House aide Elise Jordan on Trump’s chaotic week as new reporting finds his allies are worried about his recent behavior.
Elise Jordan was married to Michael Hastings until his death about 4:25 a.m. on June 18, 2013, when he was involved in a single-vehicle automobile crash in his Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupé in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. A witness to the crash said the car seemed to be traveling at maximum speed and was creating sparks and flames before it fishtailed and crashed into a palm tree.
Witnesses described the seeing the car’s engine ejected 50 to 60 yards from the point of impact.
Hastings’ body was burned beyond recognition. The coroner identified the body by matching fingerprints with those the FBI had on file. Two days after the crash, the Los Angeles Police Department declared that there were no signs of foul play. The coroner’s report ruled the death to be an accident. An autopsy showed that the cause of death was massive blunt force trauma consistent with a high-speed crash.
Video from a nearby security camera reportedly showed Hastings’ vehicle speeding and bursting into flames.
Michael Hastings crashed while his brother was trying to help him. Hasting’s older brother, Jonathan Hastings, recounted in an interview with with writer Ray Sawhill, how he had flown to L.A. to help his brother shortly before the accident because he had “got the impression that he was having a manic episode, similar to one he had had 15 years ago…”, when “drugs had been involved…” After Jonathan Hastings failed to convince his brother to check voluntarily into a drug re-habilitation program, or fly back to Vermont to stay with family, Jonathan started making plans with his other brother to attempt to “force Mike into checking himself into a hospital or detox center.” However, before that could be arranged, “he snuck out [of the apartment] on me when I was sleeping.” and had crashed shortly afterward.
When asked directly whether his brother might have died from some sort of foul play, Jonathan responded “I really rule out foul play entirely. I might have been suspicious if I hadn’t been with him the day before he died. After all, he definitely was investigating and writing about a lot of sensitive subjects. But based on being with him and talking to people who were worried about him in the weeks leading up to his death, and being around him when he had had similar problems when he was younger, I was pretty much convinced that he wasn’t in danger from any outside agency.”
Soon after Hastings’ death, questions were raised about the crash that took his life.
Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard A. Clarke said that what is known about the crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack.” He was quoted as saying: “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car. So if there were a cyber attack on [Hastings’] car — and I’m not saying there was, I think whoever did it would probably get away with it.”
The day before the crash, Michael Hastings indicated that he believed he was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In an email to colleagues, which was copied to and released by Hastings’ friend Army Staff Sergeant Joe Biggs, Hastings said that he was “onto a big story”, that he needed to “go off the radar”, and that the FBI might interview them.
WikiLeaks announced that Michael Hastings had also contacted Jennifer Robinson, one of its lawyers, a few hours prior to the crash, and the LA Weekly reported that he was preparing new reports on the CIA at the time of his death. His widow Elise Jordan said Michael Hasting’s final story was a profile of CIA Director John O. Brennan.
In June 2010, Rolling Stone published “The Runaway General”, Hastings’s profile of U.S. Army general Stanley McChrystal, who was then commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the Afghanistan war. The article published anonymous remarks by McChrystal’s staff that were overtly critical and contemptuous of White House staff and other civilian officials. The pentagon disputed the accuracy of the quotations. On June 22, 2010 the content of the article reached the attention of the American print media and the White House. On June 23 U.S. President Barack Obama summoned McChrystal to the White House and relieved him of command.
Michael Hastings recounted conversations with some of McChrystal’s staff members in his book, describing being at a party when one inebriated staff member asked him, “You’re not going to f*#@ us, are you?” Another staff member replied, “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write”. Hastings interpreted the drunken comments as a joke.
Elise Jordan works as a political analyst for MSNBC and contributor to Time magazine. Previously Elise Jordan was a director for communication in the National Security Council, and worked for Condoleezza Rice as a speechwriter. She has also worked for The Daily Beast as a contributor. Jordan has worked as a Republican strategist, national journal columnist and national review columnist.