Scaramucci-Priebus feud reaches boiling point

A long-simmering feud between two of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE’s top advisers reached a boiling point Thursday, when White House communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciThe Memo: Convention cancellation adds to Trump's troubles Trump's fight with city leaders escalates Scaramucci fundraising for the Lincoln Project: I hope Trump is 'humiliated' in November MORE publicly insinuated that chief of staff Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusMeadows joins White House facing reelection challenges Trump names Mark Meadows as new chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's job security looks strong following impeachment MORE is a leaker. 

But the episode that triggered Scaramucci’s outburst — a media report on his financial disclosure forms — was not the result of a leak.

That didn’t stop Trump’s newly minted communications chief from calling into CNN to challenge Priebus to deny that he is a leaker. 

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“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,” Scaramucci said. “If Reince wants to explain he's not a leaker, let him do that.”

He continued: “But let me tell you about myself. I'm a straight shooter and I'll go right to the heart of the matter.”

Scaramucci painted a picture of a tense relationship with Priebus, likening it to the biblical brothers Cain and Abel. In the book of Genesis, Cain murdered Abel and then lied about his actions to God. 

“If you want to talk about the chief of staff, we have had odds, we have had differences,” he said. “When I said we were brothers from the podium, that's because we're rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel. 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.”

The interview came after the communications chief appeared to suggest on Twitter late Wednesday that Priebus was behind the "leak" of his financial information to a Politico reporter. 

He tagged Priebus in a now-deleted tweet that said he would contact the FBI and Department of Justice “in light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony.”

Scaramucci later said reports that he was going after Priebus were “wrong.” 

But by Thursday morning, Scaramucci was venting his anger at Priebus, even as his claim that the latest incident was a leak fell apart. 

Politico reporter Lorraine Woellert said that she obtained the financial disclosure form through a routine request to the Export-Import Bank, where Scaramucci worked before being named to his White House post. 

“My source for @Scaramucci financials was Ex-Im Bank. Period,” she wrote. 

When asked Thursday on CNN whether he was accusing Priebus of leaking, Scaramucci responded, “I am not. I am saying senior officials are working on this together.”

Priebus has not yet responded to Scaramucci’s comments.

Scaramucci’s financial disclosure form, which he filed with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), shows that the former Wall Street financier earned $4.9 million from his stake in SkyBridge Capital, the investment firm he founded in 2005, between Jan. 1, 2016, and the end of June 2017.

It also shows that Scaramucci earned more than $5 million in salary during the same period of time.

Scaramucci’s sale of his stake in SkyBridge Capital to a Chinese conglomerate had presented an obstacle to getting a job in the White House.

Priebus reportedly used the sale to block Scaramucci from taking a post in the White House Office of Public Liaison at the start of the administration. 

Speaking to reporters last Friday, Scaramucci said he has worked with the OGE “to take care of all of my business” and that he was pushing back his official start date to mid-August “so that it’s 100 percent totally cleansed and clean.”

Scaramucci and Priebus have long been at odds, but the events of the past 12 hours revealed the depth of their enmity. 

The public outburst came as Scaramucci is fast amassing power in the West Wing, raising questions about Priebus’s future as Trump’s top aide.  

Priebus vehemently opposed Scaramucci’s hiring, but last Friday, both men put on a display of unity in an attempt to move forward.

The chief of staff said that he supported the former hedge fund manager’s hiring “100 percent.” 

In a brief interview with The Hill on Wednesday, just hours before the latest controversy, Scaramucci said, “Reince and I have no problem getting along.”

He downplayed the idea that he is taking power at Priebus's expense by trying to fire people from the communications shop.

“No. I don’t see how it would be usurping the power of the chief of staff when I’m reporting directly to the president,” Scaramucci said. “There’s other assistants to the president that report directly to the president, so I don’t see that as an issue.”