Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, called CNN's 'New Day' on Thursday morning to explain what he is doing to stop the campaign of leaks crippling President Trump's agenda.
"The President and I would like to tell everybody we have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are, who the senior leakers are in the White House," he said.
Scaramucci deleted this tweet yesterday citing White House chief of staff Reince Priebus as a potential leaker: "In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45"
On CNN this morning, Scaramucci explains that he is not necessarily blaming Priebus for being behind the leaks, saying: "When the journalists who know who the leakers are like Ryan Lizza, these guys know who the leakers are. Jonathan Swan at Axios, these guys know who the leakers are. I respect him for not telling me because I understand journalistic integrity. However, when I put out a tweet, I put Reince’s name in a tweet, they make the assumption it’s him because journalists know who the leakers are. So, if Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker, let him tell you about himself."
"When I put out a tweet and I put Reince's name in a tweet, they all make the assumption that it's him because journalists know who the leakers are," Scaramucci said. "So if Reince wants to explain he's not a leaker, let him do that. But let me tell you about myself. I'm a straight shooter and I'll go right to the heart of the matter."
On his first day on the job, Scaramucci said he and Priebus were like "brothers," but this morning he noted that "some brothers are rough on each other... some brothers are like Cain and Abel."
"I don’t like the activity going on in the White House," Scaramucci said. "I don’t like what they’re doing to my friend."
Scaramucci railed against the "reprehensible" and "treasonous" actions of leakers, who he said were "senior people."
"It’s absolutely completely and totally reprehensible. As you know from the Italian expression, the fish stinks from the head down, but I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, and that’s me and the president. I don’t like the activity going on in the White House. I don’t like what they’re doing to my friend," he explained.
The Mooch also noted, on the topic of leaks: "I understand we have to leak things to reporters to help shape policy or try to balloon things or do tests on ideas or people for different jobs. I’m talking about nefarious, unnecessary, backstabbing, palace intrigue-like leaks. That’s what I’m talking about."
Transcript of key part, via CNN:
CAMEROTA: Because we actually have Anthony Scaramucci on the phone.
CUOMO: Right so let's get him. White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci joins us this morning. Anthony Scaramucci can you hear us?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yeah so when I was speaking to you last night Ryan I said it was unpatriotic that you weren't telling me who the leakers were. I was on a plane landing in New York I have to go visit my mom. And so you may have caught it the wrong way.
I was teasing you and it was sarcastic. It was one Italian to another, it wasn't me trying to get you to say, if you could give me some sense of who they are because I have a responsibility to the President of the United States--
SCARAMUCCI: When you said you didn't I totally respect your journalism and your integrity. Chris I don't know--
CUOMO: Hold on Anthony I just want to make sure, I don't know if Ryan could hear you.
LIZZA: I can.
CUOMO: But just in case, it did go out over the air so he heard what you meant when you were talking to him about being unpatriotic. Let's just reset us at zero here. What's going on here from your perspective?
SCARAMUCCI: I want to reset at zero. But I also want you to know, I just spent about 15 minutes on the phone talking with the President of the United States who has given me his full support and his full blessing. And I'm going to read you something Chris and you'll bear with me. And the president also told me, if you're nice to me in this segment, he'll let me come back on the show. Is that cool?
So why don't you let me talk for a little bit and then you can ask me questions. But this is super, super important to the country. Now whether you agree with the president or you disagree with the president, you have to love the institution of the presidency. You have to love the office and you have to love our country.
And what is going on right now I've done a major amount of work over the last five days. I've interviewed most of the assistants to the president. I've interviewed most of the people on the Communications Team in the White House. And what the president and I would like to tell everybody we have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are, who the senior leakers are in the White House. We'll get to that in a second.
What I also want to say is that we are working together, the president and myself and other members of his team and law enforcement to undercut and undercover or out if you will the leakers in the entire country. As the president would say in his own words, the White House leakers are small potatoes. I'll talk to you about a few leaks that happened last night that I find reprehensible.
But the White House leaks are small potatoes relative to things that are going on relative to things that are going on with leaking things about Syria or North Korea, or 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.
So the president brought me in. He knows I'm his friend first Chris. You're from New York, I'm from New York, the president is from New York, we had dinner last night. I sat next to the First Lady. I love the president. I said that. I know the press wants to ridicule me for saying it six times from the podium. But we started out as friends. I am not a politician. I'm an American businessman, an entrepreneur who has built two businesses and I try to play it straight with people.
The president is trying to play it straight with people which is why he has 140 or 125 (PH) social media followers because they want to hear it straight from the president. And I said to the president this morning, I can't afford to be a sycophant to you sir. I have to talk to you straight as a friend so I can help you with this problem.
And so what I want to say to you is I understand the law. 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's one of my closest friends, dinner with the president and his First Lady without it being leaked in seven minutes. It's absolutely, completely and totally reprehensible.
And the, as you know, from the Italian expression, the fish stinks from the head down. Well I can tell you two fish that don't stink OK? And that's me and the president. I don't like the activity that's going on in the White House. I don't like what they're doing to my friend. I don't like what they're doing to the President of the United States or their fellow colleagues in the West Wing.
If you want to talk about the Chief of Staff, we have had odds, we have had differences. When I said we were brothers from the podium, that's because we're rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Able. 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. But he's the Chief of Staff, he's responsible for understanding and uncovering and helping me do that inside the White House which is why I put that tweet out last night.
When the journalists who actually know who the leakers are, like Ryan Lizza, they know the leakers. Jonathan Spain at Axio (PH), these guys know who the leakers are. I respect them for not telling me because I understand and respect journalistic integrity. However, when I put out a tweet and I put Reince's name in the tweet; they're all making the assumption that 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.
Let me tell you something about myself. I am a straight shooter. I'll go right to the heart of the matter. OK so I'm done talking. You can ask me questions. But be nice on this segment Chris because this is a very serious matter of interest to all of America.
CUOMO: Anthony look, I know when you say be nice you're in part joking. Because you know the job is to be fair. So let's be fair in this situation, let's get a sense of what's going on--
SCARAMUCCI: I'm saying again the way I said it to Ryan Lizza, unpatriotic, it's that nuance Chris.
SCARAMUCCI: It's sometimes hard to pick it up on Twitter.
CUOMO: Ryan heard it. He accepts what you said.
SCARAMUCCI: Be fair, be fair Chris. And the truth of the matter is I'm used to all different types of questions. I'm used to meanness. It doesn't matter to me. I'm here to play it straight for the American people and to protect my friend who's President of the United States. Go ahead.
CUOMO: And understood. And Alyson and I have felt the bite of personal comments from power as well. But we still do the job and we do it the right way because that's what matters more.
SCARAMUCCI: Go ahead.
CUOMO: So let's do that right now instead of talking about doing it.
SCARAMUCCI: Go ahead.
CUOMO: These tweets seem to indicate a problem that didn't start today. And I'm not talking about the leaking. It is well known Anthony Scaramucci that Reince Priebus was against you getting a job in the administration. You've talked about it privately with reporters.
CUOMO: He has denied it but there are tons of reports that that denial is hollow. And when you named him in the tweet it seems to call that. Where is your head on that situation? What do you believe the reality to be? Because it seems much more like Cain and Abel than it does brothers who can get along.
SCARAMUCCI: I know. Here's what I believe. After running two reasonably successful companies and one which the entire world knows I'm about to sell for $180 million, here's what I know. When you're running a successful company or an organization, you can take this human equation to the bank: Under confidence plus insecurity always equals paranoia and backstabbing.
And so what you have to do as a manager is you have to go through the process in the system and figure out where the backstabbing is coming from. That will lead you to the people that are insecure or under confident. If you can't bolster them and make them better, then you have to remove them from the process because then it becomes addition by subtraction.
That's what I know.
SCARAMUCCI: I don't want to talk about anybody specifically because we're on a live television wire. But the people know. The journalists know. You know the young kids in the Comm Team are taking a lot of heat from me now. They know Chris. The people know. You know who knows? The President of the United States.
The President of the United States again, whether you guys like the guy, you dislike the guy, he's the smartest person that I've ever worked for. OK? So let Vanity Fair write about that, I honestly don't care. He has intuition, he has judgement and he has a temperament in a way that I have never seen.
Last night we were having dinner, I told his wife, I looked over at the First Lady and I said I forgot how much fun I used to have when I hung out with him on the campaign trail. He's a very interesting and very unique guy. There are people inside the administration that 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 so that he can explain his views properly and his policies so that we can transform America and drain the swamp and make the system fairer for the middle and the lower income people.
SCARAMUCCI: A couple more minutes about Russia and then ask a few more minutes. Go to Russia at the end of the segment. Go ahead.
CUOMO: Here's the thing. Anthony we both know I'm going to ask what I think is important.
SCARAMUCCI: Go ahead.
CUOMO: We both know I have trouble taking direction. So the reason--
SCARAMUCCI: We know that, we know that from our hometown. We know that from our neighbors.
CUOMO: The reason I brought up Russia was contextually that's when the president started banging on leaks. Because he didn't like that information was coming out about it. He didn't like the implications about it politically. So he wanted to focus on the leaks instead of the substance.
And I'm saying journalistically, that is a concern. Politically I get--
SCARAMUCCI: OK well let me push back on that--
CUOMO: You want to police message within your house. I get it.
SCARAMUCCI: I didn't study that like Quincy. I wasn't a coroner studying that. Remember the Jack Klugman show?
CUOMO: He was a medical examiner not a coroner, but continue.
SCARAMUCCI: Yeah well whatever it was medical examiner. I wasn't studying it back then. That's a narrative that I think is a false narrative. And I'm going to push back for the president--
CUOMO: What is a false narrative?
SCARAMUCCI: The false narrative is oh he doesn't like the leaks coming out on Russia so he's pushing back.
CUOMO: That's 100% true.
SCARAMUCCI: That's not, that isn't true.
CUOMO: You just said it's true. You just said he doesn't like those leaks; those are part of the leaks he doesn't like.
SCARAMUCCI: Scandals Incorporated another fake scandal that we're going to manufacture to create a sideshow here in Washington.
CUOMO: There's nothing fake about the Russia investigation. There's nothing fake about the emails that Don Jr. put out--
SCARAMUCCI: The collusion Chris. Forget about the hacking and all the other stuff. We're going to get into the hacking later. I'm talking about the collusion of the campaign with the Russians and the Russian government. That's the specific thing that I'm talking about. Which you and I both know that they can't find any evidence of anywhere.
Now you want to talk about the fact that the Russians could have possibly hacked into the system and done something to Hillary Clinton's emails or something like that.
CUOMO: Not possibly. They did.
SCARAMUCCI: We can debate that later.
CUOMO: But I'm saying that's where the leak stuff started with the president.
SCARAMUCCI: I'll stay on the side with the president and I said this to Tapper, Jake Tapper over the weekend. If the Russians really hacked that thing, they could possibly be clever enough not to leave any footprints. So the president is skeptical. We talked last night at dinner, I hope he's not mad at me for relaying this on TV but I'm going to relay.
He said that he thought for sure that after reading all the stuff as an outsider that there are actually weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He said that last night. And then he said there obviously weren't weapons of mass destruction in Iraq so he has his guard up as it relates to some of the things that people say definitively and declaratively.
The CIA Director at that time said at that time that the information relating to the weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk." I'm not going to bring the guy's name up because he's a terrific guy and he made a mistake.
The point is when you say that we know definitively or Jake Tapper says that he knows definitively; thank God we have President Donald J. Trump in the room who's going to have a bit of skepticism and a cautious eye on this stuff to protect the American people and particularly American servicemen.
CUOMO: Except you're leaving one part out.
SCARAMUCCI: Let me finish--
CUOMO: You're leaving out that the reason Jake Tapper or anyone else talks about this is that the Director of National Intelligence, the head of CIA, the guys the president put in, say it.
SCARAMUCCI: Sorry before you say all that, I'm trying to give your viewers insight into the president's personality OK? The president says all the time; there is one country in the world that can take our country out in 35 minutes. I don't know if they have 8,700 nukes, whatever the numbers are, it's a big number. It's incumbent upon us and it's incumbent upon them, whatever you think of them, that we try to get along with each other. OK? Go to the next question. Go ahead.
CUOMO: Look it's just that contextually that's why I brought it up. It's not that we have some untoward fascination with an investigation. We do it because it threatens the foundation of the democracy. You know that. You know it matters.
SCARAMUCCI: I know it matters. And I'm going to say it again--
CUOMO: The president should know it matters.
SCARAMUCCI: Kellyanne Conway has said it. And the president has said it.
CUOMO: But I'm saying questioning your own Intel Chiefs is just an odd strategy for a president.
SCARAMUCCI: If he gets definitive smoking gun proof, he will take action. He's looking at these sanctions right now. He may decide to veto these sanctions--
SCARAMUCCI: And be tougher on the Russians than the Congress.
CUOMO: Oh so you think if he vetoes it it's because he wants something tougher than what they have in the Sanctions bill?
SCARAMUCCI: He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are. Or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians. It is a counter-intuitive, counter-punching personality that…
Let me tell you I was in Youngstown, Ohio with him. You cannot believe the fan base there. The American people get it. American people like what he's doing. The establishment does not like what he's doing. He's going to--
CUOMO: Why do you call the majority of America the establishment?
SCARAMUCCI: Disrupt the establishment in an effort to create policies that make it fairer to the American people.
CUOMO: Why do you call them that? Because it's a disparaging thing. It's meant to be an insult. Why insult the majority of the country?
SCARAMUCCI: Why insult the, I didn't hear the question. Say it again?
CUOMO: Why insult the majority of the country by calling them the establishment like they're some type of other.
SCARAMUCCI: Oh I'm not insulting the majority of the country. I'm not--
CUOMO: Well the majority of the country--
SCARAMUCCI: OK you're really good with the verbal proofreading this morning.
CUOMO: No Anthony what I'm saying--
SCARAMUCCI: When I'm talking about the establishment I'm talking about, let me at least finish.
CUOMO: I'm saying it because polls make it clear that the majority of American doesn't approve of the president right now. So when you say his critics, you're talking about the majority of the country.
SCARAMUCCI: No, no, no. When you really micro analyze polling (INAUDIBLE)--
CUOMO: Look we saw it in the general election; we saw it in the popular vote.
SCARAMUCCI: Oh here we go.
CUOMO: We see it in every poll that comes out. Your own internal numbers--
SCARAMUCCI: All right he won the election. Let's talk about where the approval ratings are right now. When you micro analyze the approval ratings, there's aspects where when the questions come in, I love the president, but I dislike XYZ. Or I love the president and I dislike XYZ.
Once we start executing the president's agenda and once we talk clearly and directly to the American people and get the American people to light up the Congress' switchboard to help us execute the president's agenda, that's the only way we're really going to be able to drain the swamp--
CUOMO: But isn't this leak investigation--
SCARAMUCCI: We call on all Americans to get to the switchboard--
CUOMO: Isn't the leak investigation a distraction from the agenda?
SCARAMUCCI: What's that?
CUOMO: Isn't a big part of this leak investigation a distraction from that agenda?
SCARAMUCCI: Oh how is it a distraction? We have to clamp down on the leaks. The president and I are working together with a large group of people now to suppress and clamp down the nefarious nature of these leaks. And again I'm going; I'm talking about the stuff going on with leaking on Syria, North Korea.
And like I said the president views the White House leaks, a lot of this stuff, as small potatoes. I mean I can't even have dinner with the guys, 7 minutes later 5 journalists know I'm having dinner with him and they have the guest list. I don't know. Is that how we should be running the White House? You know we shouldn't be running the White House like that.
CUOMO: Look I totally get why you want integrity of purpose within your White House. I think that your desire to be straight about it is important. I think that's why these tweets last night got you in a little bit of trouble and I wanted to give you a chance to clarify it.
SCARAMUCCI: No I'm not, believe me, let me tell you something. I work for one person OK? I report to the President of the United States. I talked to him for 15 minutes this morning. I'm far from in trouble.
CUOMO: I'm not saying you're in trouble but I'm saying the tweets and the deleting the tweets--
SCARAMUCCI: I have his full support OK? The only thing he said to me if you're going on Chris Cuomo's show he better be nice to you this morning. Otherwise I'm not going to let you go on. But you're doing a good job so far. Keep going. Do you have any other questions?
CUOMO: We both know, look, it's just not the job to be nice. It's to be fair. You know that Anthony.
SCARAMUCCI: OK I'm using his words. And they're very playful and so let me make sure that I'm getting the nuance to you. These are playful, jocular words.
CUOMO: I know. I just want everybody else to know.
SCARAMUCCI: So when I say to Ryan Lizza you're being unpatriotic, I understand and completely and totally respect--
SCARAMUCCI: Journalistic integrity.
CUOMO: I got it. Now let me ask you a question that matters.
SCARAMUCCI: Like I said on the podium, I wasn't a journalist but I did play one on TV. And the journalists are figuring out whether they're on the left or on the right. I'm going to treat them with respect, dignity and kindness because they're a member of the Fourth Estate. We all believe in the First Amendment. We're going to give them an opportunity to review everything that we're doing.