White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci communicated his displeasure with regular leaks from the White House in a phone call Wednesday night.
Scaramucci reached out to New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza after Lizza tweeted a scoop about Scaramucci and Fox News host Sean Hannity having dinner at the White House with President Donald Trump. He wanted to know who, exactly, had told Lizza about the dinner.
Leaking has been a serious problem for the Trump White House, with at least one national security leak per day since Trump took office. Scaramucci promised that he would fire his whole department if it was needed to clear out leakers.
"What I'm going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we'll start over," he told Lizza.
When Lizza refused to tell him if the leaker was an assistant to the president, Scaramucci said, "OK, I'm going to fire every one of them, and then you haven't protected anybody, so the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks."
He also attacked two of his top White House colleagues, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon.
"I'm not Steve Bannon, I'm not trying to suck my own cock," 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."
As for Priebus, Scaramucci called him "a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac," and intimated that he expected the chief of staff to soon depart the West Wing.
"Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he'll be asked to resign very shortly," he told Lizza.
Scaramucci said that Priebus was working in a concerted campaign against him, evidenced by the dinner leak as well as the public release of Scaramucci's financial disclosure, which he has called a "leak."
Scaramucci promised that he was going to pursue leakers to the best of his ability.
"OK, the Mooch showed up a week ago," he said. "This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, OK? Because I nailed these guys. I've got digital fingerprints on everything they've done through the FBI and the fucking Department of Justice."
Scaramucci also promised that leakers would be prosecuted for felonious leaking.
Lizza appeared on CNN several hours after the phone call; while discussing the phone call, Scaramucci called in to counter Lizza's account and say that a tweet he sent shortly after the phone call was not meant as a threat to Priebus.
"Let me tell you something about myself," he told viewers. "I am a straight shooter."