Excerpts of Anthony Scaramucci’s now-infamous phone call to New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza reveal a casual, if awkward, conversation in which the reporter repeatedly laughed off the White House official’s attempt to get him to reveal his sources.
“I can’t tell you, buddy. You know I can’t do that,” Lizza said.
The New Yorker posted snippets of the audio online Thursday, as part of a podcast with the writer. Scaramucci can be heard unleashing his well-documented, profanity-laced slams at former colleagues Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon (though the most objectionable parts are bleeped out).
But before that, the audio reflects the two in a friendly-sounding sparring session as Scaramucci tried to get the writer to reveal how he learned about a White House dinner with President Trump, Fox News’ Sean Hannity and others.
When Lizza said he couldn’t do that, Scaramucci said: “What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over.”
Lizza could be heard laughing at the threat.
He did so again when Scaramucci pressed him, as an “American citizen” and “American patriot,” to give him the information.
Lizza subsequently published an explosive story on the phone call. Scaramucci was ousted as White House communications director on Monday, reportedly on the recommendation of new Chief of Staff John Kelly.
While the audio revealed just how unguarded Scaramucci was in the conversation, Lizza has defended the publication of the phone call’s contents by maintaining it was on the record.
“There were no ground rules set,” Lizza said on the podcast. He said there was no agreement about the call being on background or off the record.
“In 20 years of doing this, I’ve never had a phone conversation like that,” he said.
Scaramucci originally was planning to speak out Friday in what was billed as an online event. However, he tweeted Thursday the event was being cancelled: "No Press Event Tomorrow: Focusing on Family, My Work in The Private Sector. #MovingForward Stay Tuned!"