White House in civil war as Trump staffer releases R-rated rant

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — Newly installed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci called New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza Wednesday night to demand information about leaks emanating from the executive branch, and in the process criticized many of his colleagues while using copious profanity.

Scaramucci, apparently believing that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus had leaked information about a dinner President Trump had Wednesday night with Fox News host Sean Hannity and former Fox executive Bill Shine, first threatened to fire the entire communications staff if Lizza did not divulge the source of the leaks. When he resisted, Scaramucci continued to press the issue.

“I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” Scaramucci 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.”

Anthony Scaramucci
White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media outside the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Scaramucci then teed off on Priebus and the White House communications team, and said that he believed the chief of staff had leaked the existence of the dinner because he had not been invited. “They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “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…Reince is a f******* paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”

Using a vulgar colloquialism, Scaramucci also said that Priebus had tried to block him for months, and was now giving Shine the same treatment.

The entire exchange between Lizza and Scaramucci was outlined in a story published online Thursday by the New Yorker

The White House communication director then turned his ire toward Steve Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief political strategist. Scaramucci, referencing a onanistic sexual act, said that he was not interested in attracting media attention like Bannon, preferring only to promote the president.

“I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f******* strength of the President,” Scarmucci said. “I’m here to serve the country.”

Returning to the issue of leaks, Scaramucci said that he would find the leakers and that they would be likely be prosecuted: “O.K., the Mooch showed up a week ago. This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, O.K.? Because I nailed these guys. I’ve got digital fingerprints on everything they’ve done through the F.B.I. and the f****** Department of Justice…the felony, they’re gonna get prosecuted, probably, for the felony.”

Scaramucci then got off the phone, saying he had “to start tweeting some shit to make [Priebus] crazy.” Minutes later, Scaramucci tweeted a warning that the people who released his financial records to Politico on Wednesday would be prosecuted, and appeared to implicate Priebus in the leak of that information.

As it turned out, the information Politico reported on was a matter of public record.

On Thursday, after the publication of the interview, Scaramucci responded on Twitter:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to her boss’ interview on Fox News Thursday night.

“I think we have to push forward and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Sanders said.

She added that “just because a comment is made” in 30 seconds doesn’t mean it needs to be “all consuming” in the news cycle.

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