On Wednesday night, in a now-deleted tweet, new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci claimed that he was contacting the FBI over what he described as the malicious and felonious leaking of his federal financial disclosure forms. Scaramucci was evidently referring to a Politico story about his stake in the firm SkyBridge Capital, which cited a public—not leaked—financial disclosure form he filed with the Office of Government Ethics when he took a position at the Export-Import Bank in June. (He's reportedly on unpaid leave from that job while he serves in the White House.) Chief of staff Reince Priebus—who is reportedly Scaramucci's No. 1 enemy in the administration—was tagged at the end of the FBI tweet, leading some to speculate that Scaramucci believed Priebus was responsible for the supposed leak. The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reported that this was indeed the case:
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
Scaramucci sent a 12:47 a.m. tweet arguing that he had never meant to impugn Priebus and implying that the two of them are working together to find and punish leakers:
This claim, though, is undermined not just by Lizza's report and previous coverage of the Scaramucci-Priebus feud but by a Washington Post writer's description of a "diagram" that a faction inside the White House has made purporting to show that Priebus is giving their secrets away to the press:
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
On Thursday morning, Scaramucci called into CNN’s New Day after a call-in from Lizza to further explain himself to host Chris Cuomo. Some highlights:
- "The White House leaks are small potatoes relative to things that are going on with leaking things about Syria or North Korea or to leaking things about Iraq. Those are the types of leaks that are so treasonous that 150 years ago people would have actually been hung for those types of leaks."
- "I know that there was a public disclosure mechanism in my financial forms. What I'm upset about is the process and the junk pool, the dirty pool, Chris, in terms of the way this stuff is being done. And the leaking won't stop. I can't have a couple of friends up from Fox & Friends and Sean Hannity, who is one of my closest friends, to dinner with the president and the First Lady without it being leaked in seven minutes. It's absolutely, completely, and totally reprehensible." (Lizza had also tweeted that Scaramucci was dining with President Trump, Melania Trump, Fox’s Hannity, and ousted Fox executive Bill Shine on Wednesday night.)
- "When I put out a tweet and I put Reince's name in a tweet, they’re all making the assumption it's him because journalists know who the leakers are. So, if Reince wants to explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that.”
- “When I said we (Priebus and Scaramucci) 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 get along. I don’t know if this is repairable or not. That will be up to the president."
- "Like I said about the West Wing, if there’s 300 people working there and there’s 300 million people in the country, you’re one in a million. Why don’t you honor the job? Remember Joe Paterno? What would he say? You have to act like you’ve been there before. Act with honor and dignity and respect and hold the confidence of the presidency and his office."
- "There are people inside the administration who think it is their job to save America from this president. Ok? That is not their job. Their job is to inject this president into America."
In summary: Scaramucci did not report Priebus to the FBI, but someone in the White House is leaking, and maybe Priebus should deny being that person, because he and Scaramucci are like the two parties who were involved in history's first homicide, and White House employees should inject the president into America in the dignified manner of a football coach who resigned in disgrace during a child-molesting scandal. Got it?