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White House Communications Director Calls Chief Of Staff 'A Paranoiac' And Much Worse

Anthony Scaramucci's financial disclosure form shows assets of up to $85 million.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Warning: This post contains some very graphic language

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

The newly installed Trump White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, unloaded on the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and adviser Steve Bannon with some harsh language that would make a sailor blush.

In the interview, posted Thursday, with New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, Scaramucci called Priebus "a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac."

Turning his attention to Bannon, Scaramucci said he had no interest in media attention. "I'm not Steve Bannon; I'm not trying to s*** my own c***," Scaramucci said. "I'm not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president. I'm here to serve the country."

On Thursday evening, Scaramucci followed up on Twitter, saying he would "refrain" from using such language.

Scaramucci was initially set off by a report in Politico that indicates he has assets worth as much as $85 million and that he took a $5 million salary from SkyBridge Capital, the hedge fund he founded, in the first half of the year.

Scaramucci tweeted Wednesday night suggesting that reporting the financial disclosure information was "a felony" and saying that he will contact the FBI.

"In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45."

The tweet has since been deleted.

On Thursday morning, Scaramucci called into CNN and all but accused Priebus of deliberately leaking the report.

"If Reince wants to explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that," Scaramucci said. "Let me tell you something about myself — I am a straight shooter, and I'll go right to the heart of the matter."

However, the financial disclosure form is a public document, which the Politico reporter who obtained it said she retrieved through normal channels.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, says it is taking leaks seriously. DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement, "We have seen an astonishing increase in the number of leaks of classified national security information in recent months. We agree with Anthony that these staggering number of leaks are undermining the ability of our government to function and to protect this country. Like the Attorney General has said, 'whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail,' and we will aggressively pursue leak cases wherever they may lead."

The increasingly nasty contretemps playing out in the West Wing between Scaramucci and Priebus seems to have started when Priebus reportedly objected to Trump's hiring of the financier.

Priebus ally Sean Spicer, who was pulling double duty as communications director and press secretary, quit when Scaramucci was named to the job.

Scaramucci acknowledged to CNN that he and Priebus "have had odds. We've had differences."

Referring to his remarks last week that he and Priebus were like brothers, he elaborated.

"Some brothers are like Cain and Abel," he said. "Other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don't know if this is reparable or not. That will be up to the president."

Of course, as every Sunday school graduate knows, in the Bible, Cain murdered Abel.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.
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