When Anthony Scaramucci was named White House communications director last week, he had a dual mandate to fix the president’s dysfunctional press shop and end leaks. So far, those two goals are steeply at odds, as Scaramucci’s fierce, sudden attack on White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus Wednesday and Thursday show.
An enigmatic series of tweets Wednesday night erupted into a stunning CNN interview Thursday morning in which Scaramucci compared his relationship with Priebus to Cain and Abel (he didn’t indicate which is which) and said he didn’t know whether his relationship with Priebus was “repairable.” He also implied that national-security leakers ought to be executed.
The administration’s newest public fight began Wednesday night when Politico obtained Scaramucci’s financial disclosure. (Fun fact: Scaramucci earned $88,000 from Fox News last year.) Even though, as Politico notes and as Scaramucci acknowledged, that form is available to the public, Scaramucci apparently decided it had been leaked and tweeted (he has since deleted it):
In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45
Scaramucci’s tagging of Priebus (@Reince45) seemed to many readers like an accusation against the chief of staff, and two well-sourced reporters soon said that was the correct inference:
In case there's any ambiguity in his tweet I can confirm that Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking.— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) July 27, 2017
Some in White House are trying to build a case that Priebus is a leaker — “a diagram” charting leaks, per senior official — to show Trump.— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 27, 2017
Around 1 a.m., Scaramucci insisted that hadn’t been his message:
That made Scaramucci’s unexpected call to CNN’s New Day Thursday morning all the stranger: Even as the spokesman insisted that he hadn’t been accusing Priebus of the leaks, he still blasted his colleague and accused him of leaking.