A Close Reading of Ryan Lizza’s Phone Call from Anthony Scaramucci

(Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza got a rare triple-stack headline on his bombshell of a post Thursday chronicling a phone call from new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci that would be unbelievable if anything was unbelievable anymore.

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon

Interesting. Okay. I guess these are topics relevant to your professional life, Anthony. Continue.

Lizza had tweeted about Scaramucci’s dinner plans and Scaramucci really wanted to know who told Lizza about Scaramucci’s dinner plans, a subject which, if revealed, posed “a major catastrophe for the American country.”

Wait, what?

“What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

Again, this is about the dinner plans of a man referred to as “The Mooch.”

I asked him why it was so important for the dinner to be kept a secret. Surely, I said, it would become public at some point. “I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period,” he said. “They won’t do it.”

A honeymoon period.

Mooch then becomes convinced Reince Priebus, the Republican Party’s delegate in the Trump White House, is leaking things about him.

He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”

Here is where we say a little prayer of thanks that this phone call was not wasted on the tongue-biting puritans at the New York Times. Cock-block!

Scaramucci was particularly incensed by a Politico report about his financial-disclosure form, which he viewed as an illegal act of retaliation by Priebus. The reporter said Thursday morning that the document was publicly available and she had obtained it from the Export-Import Bank. Scaramucci didn’t know this at the time, and he insisted to me that Priebus had leaked the document, and that the act was “a felony.”

“I’ve called the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice,” he told me.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

That last line could have been the headline of this piece.

“The swamp will not defeat him,” he said, breaking into the third person.

Oh, my god.

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist.

OH, MY GOD.

Scaramucci said he had to get going. “Yeah, let me go, though, because I’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make this guy crazy.”

The sheer magnificence of this story appears to have crashed The New Yorker’s website, but once that’s remedied, you should definitely…

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