In the first week of “The Anthony Scaramucci Show,” the new White House communications director displayed numerous ways that he could give Trump and his family multiple headaches if he continues his one-man reality show.
What’s more, he body-checked Trump and his speeches in Ohio on the economy and New York on illegal immigration completely out of the spotlight with his profane interview to the left-wing New Yorker magazine.
But the White House communications director’s problems started days before he went on a rant to the left-wing magazine’s Ryan Lizza.
Last Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Scaramucci revealed a confidential conversation he had with Trump and even outed the president as his anonymous source.
“You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it,” he said.
Then, when pressed, Scaramucci revealed that it was in fact Trump who was his anonymous White House source when he had just said he would not reveal his “source.”
“I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One. And he basically said to me, ‘Hey, you know, this is—maybe they did it. Maybe they didn’t do it,’” Scaramucci said of Trump.
That exchange should make Trump and his top advisers worried about whether Scaramucci may accidentally spill some of the administration’s most important secrets when legacy media reporters grill him.
Scaramucci then got caught making some comments into a hot mic that the legacy media promptly leaked to left-wing BuzzFeed. That should have been a lesson to Scaramucci to not trust the legacy media, but Scaramucci learned that the hard way three days later when he made profane comments about former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House Chief Strategist Steve K. Bannon to the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza.
According to the leaked hot-mic audio that BuzzFeed obtained, Scaramucci said CNN was on the “left” but also reportedly argued that he is not “some jerkoff salesman” because he went to Harvard Law School.
“So when you’re thinking I did this shit by accident, know that I did it on purpose, you understand what I am saying?” Scaramucci was caught on the hot mic, explaining to a CNN executive why he called on a CNN reporter during his first press conference.
For Trump’s sake, one hopes that Scaramucci finally learned his lessons about the legacy media’s anti-Trump agenda after his New Yorker rant dominated the news cycle for days.
On two different occasions last Sunday, Scaramucci also was not on the same page as others in Trump’s legal and political circles. Having a unified and coherent message is of the utmost importance, especially concerning potential White House legal matters. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were reportedly fed up with former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, but Scaramucci’s messaging last week was no better and may have been worse that Spicer’s.
Last Sunday, Scaramucci said on CNN that he was not sure whether Trump was in favor of Congress’ Russia sanctions bill while his Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on ABC that Trump’s “administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place.”
Scaramucci and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow also gave slightly different answers about whether Trump has been discussing pardons in the Oval Office. Scaramucci said he was in the Oval Office with Trump when Trump brought up the issue of pardons with him. Sekulow, though, said that though Trump has “the authority to pardon,” Trump’s legal team has not discussed pardons with Trump at all.
“We have not, and I continue to not, have conversations with the president of the United States regarding pardons,” Sekulow said.
Scaramucci’s over-the-top and vulgar comments to the New Yorker three days later about Bannon and Priebus (Scaramucci strangely had nothing bad to say about White House globalists Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, and Jared Kushner) may also have been the least of his worries in hindsight.
“This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, O.K.?” Scaramucci also told Lizza of the administration’s leaks. “Because I nailed these guys. I’ve got digital fingerprints on everything they’ve done through the F.B.I. and the fucking Department of Justice.”
But “former FBI agents and federal prosecutors” told The Daily Beast “that if Scaramucci was being truthful, he disclosed that FBI agents had violated the agency’s protocols and maybe broken the law.” As the outlet noted, the FBI “has strict rules that keep agents from sharing information they find in their investigations with people who aren’t authorized to see it. Agents that reveal information without authorization can be suspended or fired.”
Scaramucci also showed that he could potentially inadvertently get himself—and others in Trump’s administration—in trouble with his reckless tweets. Scaramucci’s tweet last week about “contacting” the FBI over White House leaks, for instance, was potentially troublesome.
“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 tweeted.
US News & World Report pointed out that his tweet “ignited an uproar among legal experts as well as former members of the White House Office of Legal Counsel and the Justice Department, who suggested that the kind of contact Scaramucci alluded to could be considered inappropriate.”
“If he really did reach out to DOJ and ‘friends at the FBI’ to investigate a ‘leak,’ yes, that would seem to be a violation of both the norms and rules governing White House contacts with the Justice Department – all the more so given that the information at issue was in the public domain,” Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, told the outlet.
Andy Wright, “who served in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Obama and Clinton administrations and is a professor at Savannah Law School,” told the outlet that though Scaramucci is “entitled to pick up the phone and call the FBI” if “he feels he has been the victim of a crime,” it is “100-percent inappropriate for a White House staffer to be calling over to the Justice Department to inquire about a pending criminal investigation without a need for that information for the president to be able to fulfill his duties under the Constitution.”
His infamous New Yorker interview also revealed that he may not know how to deal with reporters or what a leak actually is.
As Politico’s Hadas Gold wrote in her morning newsletter last week:
DEAR ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, LET US DEFINE “LEAK” FOR YOU: Leak: /lēk/ verb a: to become known despite efforts at concealment confidential information leaked out. b: to be the source of an information leak (Thank you Merriam-Webster).
She then explained that Scaramucci, if he really thought he was off the record with Lizza, was in fact leaking himself while vowing to be the anti-leak crusader:
What is a leak then? Well it could be what Scaramucci did with Lizza. Lizza said Scaramucci did not request the conversation be off-the-record or on-background but it’s clear that he thought it was at least somewhat private because he tweeted last night “I made a mistake in trusting a reporter. It won’t happen again.” Some people have suggested that Scaramucci, being new to Washington and politics, wasn’t aware of the norms. But even if he did think he was talking privately, he initiated a phone call with someone he knew to be a reporter during which he was talking about internal feuds, trashing his colleagues, his own conversations with the president and that Priebus would be forced to resign soon. That is leaking.
In just his first week on the job, Scaramucci’s lack of discipline and knowledge about various ground rules should be red flags for Trump and administration officials about the massive liability Scaramucci may become going forward.
Scaramucci, who was one of the Trump’s most effective defenders as a pundit on television, is now a White House official, which completely changes the game and increases the risks for all if he keeps being a one-man reality show.