Anthony Scaramucci has made quite an impression in his first week as White House Communications Director. The charismatic, plain-spoken figure (nicknamed “The Mooch”) has been generating a number of memorable sound-bites, while vowing to get to the bottom of the Trump administration’s ongoing problem with internal leaks.
Last night, he took the Twitter to report on his progress, and in doing so, seemed to implicate a high-ranking administration official:
“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 was referring to a story in The Politico, in which financial disclosure forms, that he had filed for a previous job with the administration, had been published. And yes, that’s White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, that he tagged at the end of that tweet. It wasn’t by accident.
The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza soon confirmed what many were speculating, tweeting:
“In case there’s any ambiguity in his tweet I can confirm that Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking.”
Minutes later, the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker also weighed in on Twitter:
“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.”
Taking a page out of President Trump’s playbook, Scaramucci had publicly censured a member of the administration, going as far as to accuse him of committing a felony.
Only, as Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard described in a piece this morning, Scaramucci neither had proof that Priebus had leaked the information, nor evidence that there had been any leak at all.
You see, the disclosure form had become public record as of last Sunday.
At some point during the night, Scaramucci seemed to have realized that he had created a media firestorm. In response to an Axios tweet that stated, “Scaramucci appears to want Priebus investigated by FBI over leaks,” he wrote:
“Wrong! Tweet was public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks. @Reince45”
Soon after, Scaramucci deleted the original tweet that caused the ruckus.
The revised notion that Scaramucci had singled Priebus out, only as honorable mention in an effort to expose White House leakers, earned widespread mockery across the Twitterverse. In fact, the reversal was so absurd that Scaramucci abandoned it himself this morning.
Appearing on CNN, Scaramucci told Chris Cuomo, “If you want to talk about the chief of staff, we have had odds, we have had differences. When I said we were brothers, from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel, other brothers can fight with each other and then get along. I don’t know if this is repairable or not — that will be up to the president.”
Later in the interview, Scaramucci said, “So if Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that.” He added, “I can speak for my own actions. He’s going to need to speak for his own actions.”
And if you think that President Trump couldn’t possibly approve of The Mooch’s public, highly-unprofessional conduct, think again. Scaramucci told the Washington Post that the president actually authorized this morning’s CNN interview, and told him to talk about Priebus and the leaks.
But don’t worry. The situation is even crazier than that. Scaramucci is now reportedly seeking messaging advice from Fox News’s Sean Hannity.
As you may recall, Hannity generated big headlines earlier this year with his incessant spreading of reckless conspiracy theories about Seth Rich, a murdered DNC staffer. The weeks-long, televised crusade was designed to deflect heat off of the Trump/Russia collusion story, but resulted only in causing deeper pain to Rich’s family, who begged (and eventually convinced) Hannity to stop.
So, yeah. Why wouldn’t you want this guy advising the White House’s communications director? Right?
God only knows what more we can expect from Scaramucci in the future, but one thing’s for certain: Sean Spicer must be loving retirement right about now.