Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Getting Hard-Pressed In The White House

New WHite House Communications Director Tony Scaramucci has one job as far as his boss is concerned (Donald Trump, not WH Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, which is a whole other issue actually) and that's to get heads for leaks to the press.  Scaramucci's first trophy is assistant press secretary Michael Short, along with his own credibility. TPM's Matt Shuham:

Shortly after telling a reporter that he planned on firing assistant White House press secretary Michael Short, White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said it was “unfair” that the public knew about the firing before Short did — even though Scaramucci himself was the source of the news.

The surreal course of events unfolded over a couple of hours Tuesday morning.

First, Politico’s Tara Palmeri reported that Scaramucci had told her, in her words, “that he plans to dismiss assistant press secretary Michael Short,” as part of his early war on White House leakers and other staffers deemed insufficiently supportive of President Donald Trump.

Short did not respond to TPM’s request for comment, but CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported less than an hour after Palmeri’s article went live that Short had not been informed of his upcoming firing.

Fifty minutes later, Time’s Zeke Miller reported that Scaramucci said leakers were “unpatriotic” and that Scaramucci refused to confirm Short’s firing, saying it would be inappropriate to speak publicly about the matter — even though, as Miller pointed out, he already had.

Then, Scaramucci blamed “leaking” for the fact that reporters, and thus the general public, knew about Short’s potential firing before Short himself did, even though Politico cited Scaramucci as the source of the information.

In the stunning statement reported by Miller and The Hill, in which Scaramucci blamed leaks for his own actions, he seemed to “leak” yet again, putting forward the hypothetical, “Let’s say I’m firing Michael Short today. The fact that you guys know about it before he does really upsets me as a human being and as a Roman Catholic.”

As comical as Tony the Mooch is, what the White House is doing isn't funny.  Looking closely at yesterday's Washington Post story on Jeff Sessions is that Sessions himself says that investigations and possibly prosecutions are coming for leakers.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will reportedly make an announcement about several criminal leak investigations within days.

Officials told The Washington Post about the forthcoming news from the Justice Department. The investigations will be centered around news reports containing sensitive material about intelligence, the report said. 
The news comes as newly-appointed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci publicly decried leaks coming from within the West Wing in his first week on the job and vowed to fire staffers who continue talking to reporters.

The impending announcement also comes as Trump grows publicly unhappy with Sessions, last week criticized the attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.  

If there's one thing that will get Trump off Sessions's back, it's Evil Keebler Elf announcing heads are going to roll over leaks, which Trump takes to Twitter to scream about two or three mornings per week these days.  We'll see where this goes, but my guess is that this is how Sessions keeps his job.

Until the next major leak about Mueller's investigation hits the Washington Post and New York Times, that is.

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