Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Anthony Scaramucci has had some difficulty over the course his first few days as White House communications director, but as he wrapped up his first week on the job he managed to provide an unambiguous answer to one question on the minds of millions of Americans watching the Trump presidency with equal parts curiosity and horror:

Yes, it can get more absurd.

Late Wednesday, Scaramucci took to Twitter to announce that he’d be going to the FBI to report a felonious leak of his financial disclosure forms. Politico had published a story about the disclosures earlier in the evening and Scaramucci wasn’t happy. He was certain that he knew the source of the leak and when he tweeted about the alleged breach, he included the Twitter handle of the man he believed responsible, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

At 10:41 p.m. Wednesday, Scaramucci tweeted: “In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept. #swamp @Reince45.” The inclusion of Priebus in the tweet immediately set political reporters about calling, emailing and texting their White House sources to confirm that Scaramucci was in fact doing what he appeared to be doing: Publicly accusing the White House chief of staff of a felony.

The answer came quickly. Within the hour there appeared to be confirmation of Scaramucci’s intent. Ryan Lizza, a staff writer with the New Yorker who had first reported details of Trump’s dinner Wednesday with Scaramucci, Sean Hannity, and former Fox News executive Bill Shine, tweeted: “In case there’s any ambiguity in his tweet I can confirm that Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking.”

Hannity retweeted his dinner companion’s FBI tweet and added: “Great! #MAGA”

Was Scaramucci leaking insider details of his crusade against leaks? Did he have proof that Priebus was the leaker?

Philip Rucker, who covers the White House for the Washington Posttweeted: “Tensions between Scaramucci and Priebus are raw as ever, I’m told tonight. There’s a reason Mooch tagged Reince on FBI leak tweet.” A short time later he added: “Some in White House are trying to build a case that Priebus is a leaker—‘a diagram’ charting leaks, per senior official—to show Trump.”

Scaramucci, it seemed, was trying to shoot the king—or at least publicly frame him. And he wasn’t shy about telling others at the White House that he believed Priebus had leaked the documents, though he couldn’t provide evidence to support his claims. Still, Scaramucci vowed to make Priebus pay.

The plan, however, had several flaws. The most significant: Scaramucci didn’t just lack evidence that Priebus was behind the leak—he lacked evidence that there had even been a leak in the first place.

As Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos reported late Wednesday night in the New York Times:

Mr. Scaramucci filed the disclosure form in connection with his previous, short-lived job with the Trump administration at the Export-Import Bank. Under federal law, anyone can request such a report on a government website 30 days after its receipt.
Mr. Scaramucci’s report says it was filed on June 23, which means it could be publicly released by the bank on July 23, or last Sunday. Politico did not indicate whether it obtained the report through such a regular request.
Asked why he thought the report had been leaked illegally, Mr. Scaramucci responded by text: “They aren’t in process yet.” But when told his form could be released on July 23, he did not respond further.

There was a reason Scaramucci didn’t respond further: There had been no leak. The Politico reporter, Lorraine Woellert, obtained Scaramucci’s disclosures by making a routine request to the Ex-Im bank for the form 278e that Scaramucci completed before working there. Woellert tweeted: “Mr @Scaramucci’s Form 278e is publicly available from ExIm. Just ask.”

If Scaramucci didn’t respond to the Times, he did respond—where else?—on Twitter. Scaramucci tweeted an Axios piece headlined: “Scaramucci appears to want Priebus investigated by FBI.” Scaramucci denied the claim: “Wrong! Tweet was public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks. ‪@Reince45.”


Anthony Scaramucci Wants FBI To Probe ‘Felony’ Leaks From White House

He tags White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus as he calls for an investigation.