For a Harvard Law grad, Anthony Scaramucci is sure having a hard time following the rules. Yesterday, we wrote about an interview he gave to CNN in which he boasted about his discussions with his “buddies” at the FBI and Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions about leaks. Well, looks like we have further confirmation of those discussions. During an expletive filled interview with Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker, Scaramucci insinuated he’s been in talks with the DOJ about leaks coming from the White House. See that’s a problem. As legal experts point out, there are actually rules that prohibit White House officials from discussing ongoing investigations with the FBI or DOJ. We reported earlier this week, that Sessions is posed to make a major announcement about leaks in the coming days. So clearly, there is some kind of pending/ongoing investigation. Thus the problem for Scaramucci.
Here’s what Lizza reported in The New Yorker
(Scaramucci) cryptically suggested that he had more information about White House aides. “O.K., the Mooch showed up a week ago,” he said. “This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, O.K.? Because I nailed these guys. I’ve got digital fingerprints on everything they’ve done through the F.B.I. and the fucking Department of Justice.”
How did Scarmucci know? Well, he called into to CNN on Thursday and told anchor Chris Cuomo that he’d been talking to his friends at the FBI and Sessions about the leaks coming form the White House.
A DOJ memo from then-Attorney General Eric Holder that says that White House-DOJ communications regarding matters involving investigations can only take place between the Counsel to the President, the Principal Deputy Counsel to the President, the President or the Vice President and the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General. Additionally, White House communications staff can speak with DOJ communications staff. That’s it. Scaramucci, who heads up White House communications, would not be permitted to discuss investigations with the Attorney General. Since many of the leaks Scaramucci is complaining about have to do with the Russia investigation, his talks with Sessions or FBI members could be a violation.
There is a small caveat. We don’t know for sure if Scaramucci was for talking about an ongoing investigation (it sure sounded like it was). If the parties were talking about “policy, legislation, budgeting, political appointments, public affairs, intergovernmental relations, or administrative matters that do not relate” that could be okay.
“It’s quite inappropriate for anyone from the White House to have a contact with the FBI about a pending criminal investigation, that has been an established rule of the road, probably since Watergate,” Michael Bromwich, a former Department of Justice inspector general and director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management under Obama, told The Atlantic for a February article.
Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
[image via CNN Screengrab]