Newly minted White House Communications Director (and Trump-like gesticulator) Anthony Scaramucci spring into action this week with a threat to fire all leakers. Now, he’s apparently set his sights upon Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for what he says is a leak of his financial disclosure form (which showed that he would likely still profit from his investment firm while working in his new gig).
In response to a Politico report about his form, an incensed Scaramucci lashed out (which is ongoing this morning, as detailed below). He first tweeted his desire for the FBI to commence an investigation, and he tagged Priebus’ Twitter handle. Then he deleted the tweet, but (of course) people screengrabbed that sucker because the Internet shows no mercy:
And of course, Scaramucci (who has been deleting old tweets — while admitting as much in the interest of “transparency” — that don’t jibe well with his new job) now denies that he was implicating Priebus in any way. He claims that he really only intended to warn leakers that Priebus and other senior officials were aiding the Scaramucci fight against “illegal leaks.”
As Axios points out, however, financial disclosure forms aren’t classified, so the “leak” term doesn’t apply here in the conventional sense. Yet shortly after Scaramucci’s initial tweet, the Justice Department (via CBS’ Paula Reid) released a statement that emphasized Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ intent to prosecute and possibly jail leakers:
The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza then tweeted a confirmation that Scaramucci intends to push the FBI into investigating Priebus as a leaker.
The sentiment was echoed by the Washington Post‘s Philip Rucker: “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.”
On Thursday morning, Scaramucci called CNN (below) to again deny that he was calling for the FBI to probe Priebus. Yet he added, “If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that.” He also said that leakers “would have been hung 150 years ago.” Them’s fighting words.
— CNN (@CNN) July 27, 2017
For some reason, he then decided that it was a good idea to quote Joe Paterno. Well, the Scaramucci era certainly isn’t a dull one.