Anthony Scaramucci is expected to be named White House communications director reportedly over the strong objections of at least three other top administration officials — and press secretary Sean Spicer was so opposed to the hiring that he quit.
The Wall Street financier and Republican donor served as a member of the presidential transition team and has been a vocal defender of the president and his son during the Russia investigation.
That support is reportedly what convinced Trump to hire Scaramucci, who goes by the nickname “Mooch,” over the objections of Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Sources close to White House say Mooch partly got job because Trump was "impressed" with how Mooch battled CNN to retract Russia story
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) July 21, 2017
Late last month, CNN retracted a story involving Scaramucci and Russian investor Kirill Dmitriev, and three reporters resigned over the article.
The retracted story reported the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating a Jan. 16 conversation between Scaramucci and Dmitriev, who heads Russian Direct Investment Fund.
According to the report, two Democratic senators wanted to know whether Scaramucci — a frequent CNN guest — had discussed whether Russian sanctions would be lifted when he and Dmitriev exchanged pleasantries in a restaurant.
Wow, CNN had to retract big story on "Russia," with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2017
After concerns were raised by Breitbart News and other conservative outlets, CNN removed the report from online, saying it did not meet editorial standards, and the story never aired on TV.
Trump and his son gloated on Twitter about the “fake news” episode, and Scaramucci accepted the network’s apology for the “false” and “defamatory” story and called the retraction “classy.”
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) June 24, 2017
It’s not clear what details in the story were inaccurate, and Scaramucci reportedly threatened a $100 million libel suit.
Scaramucci had expected to be appointed director of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs in January, but administration officials blocked the move because his sale of SkyBridge Capital to a Chinese company would not be completed for months.
He was instead later appointed last months senior vice president and chief strategy officer for the Export-Import Bank.
Scaramucci is taking over as communications director from Mike Dubke, who resigned in May after only three months, and his hiring could force out at least one other top administration official after Spicer.
Statement is likeliest to come from Priebus. At least one other departure of someone from Trumpworld of longstanding may take place
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 21, 2017
A White House official said Scaramucci’s hiring was backed by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
WH insider tells me-Bannon told Scaramucci this morning. "Over my dead body will you get this job!!" somebody better check Bannon's pulse
— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) July 21, 2017