Update: After what was either (i) his first White House nervous breakdown or (ii) a carefully disguised distraction intended to give the media something other than Russia to discuss on this weekend’s political talk show circuit, Anthony Scaramucci has just issued the following statement via Twitter:
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 27, 2017
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Details have emerged about Anthony Scaramucci’s bizarre overnight breakdown, in which he accused Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus of leaking details of a private dinner he had with Trump, Melania, Sean Hannity and Bill Shine, as well as accusing the former GOP head of a “felony” leak of Scaramucci’s financial disclosures.
The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza has released the details of a phone call he received on Wednesday night from Scaramucci, after tweeting shortly prior that “Trump is dining tonight w/Sean Hannnity, Bill Shine (former Fox News executive), & Anthony Scaramucci, per to 2 knowledgeable sources.” As discussed earlier, Scaramucci was furious that Lizza found out about the dinner and convinced that Priebus was the one who told Lizza about it, tried to get an admission out of Lizza. After threatening to fire the entire White House communication staff if Lizza did not reveal the identity of his source, Trump’s new communications chief furiously blasted that “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” and claimed that Priebus would be asked to resign.
“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”
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He reiterated that Priebus would resign soon, and he noted that he told Trump that he expected Priebus to launch a campaign against him. “He didn’t get the hint that I was reporting directly to the President,” he said. “And I said to the President here are the four or five things that he will do to me.” His list of allegations included leaking the Hannity dinner and the details from his financial-disclosure form.
After this gentle gambit failed to generate the desired outcome, Scaramucci then warned that “they’ll all be fired by me,” he said of the White House communications staff. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.”
The enraged Scaramucci continued chanelling Priebus: “‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”
Earlier in the day, the fund manager insinuated on twitter that Trump’s top aide was behind the “leak” of his financial disclosure forms, which subsequently it turned out were not leaked, but we public for anyone to access.
As Lizza notes, while Scaramucci’s first public appearance as communications director was a slick and conciliatory, suggesting it was time for the White House to turn a page, since then, he has become obsessed with leaks and threatened to fire staffers if he discovers that they have given unauthorized information to reporters. Michael Short, a White House press aide considered close to Priebus, resigned on Tuesday after Scaramucci publicly spoke about firing him. Meanwhile, several damaging stories about Scaramucci have appeared in the press, and he blamed Priebus for most of them.
Separately, Scaramucci also lashed out at Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon in the same phone call.
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”
Lizza’s assessment of the bizarre behavior: “I got the sense that Scaramucci’s campaign against leakers flows from his intense loyalty to Trump. Unlike other Trump advisers, I’ve never heard him say a bad word about the President. “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people,” he told me.”
Trump, who has previously expressed his strong support and admiration for Scaramucci, has yet to opine.