Scaramucci Compares Call Taped ‘Without My Permission’ To Lewinsky

Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks to members of the media in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Ousted White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Wednesday attacked the journalist whose interview may have cost “The Mooch” his job.

That journalist, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, recorded Scaramucci as he trashed his colleagues — including accusing chief strategist Steve Bannon of a particularly inventive feat of onanism — and subsequently published the shocking transcript and tape. Lizza has maintained that all of his reporting came from on-the-record statements.

Nonetheless, Scaramucci says his trust was betrayed. On Wednesday evening, he compared Lizza to Linda Tripp, who played a key role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal during Bill Clinton’s second term as president. Tripp surreptitiously recorded phone calls with Lewinsky as the young staffer described her affair with Clinton.

Lewinsky responded to Scaramucci with a single emoji:

Scaramucci has never claimed his conversation with Lizza was explicitly off the record. But he has aired various grievances against the New Yorker journalist.

After Lizza’s initial report, Scaramucci said he “made a mistake in trusting a reporter,” and that the phone call was “[l]egally” on the record, though in “spirit,” “it was off.”

New York requires only “one-party consent” to tape conversations, meaning Lizza did not need Scaramucci’s permission to record.

Lizza did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment, but he has maintained Scaramucci knew the bulk of the call was on the record. After he published the interview, he noted that Scaramucci even requested a segment of the conversation be off the record, “and we respected that.”

Lizza separately said that he spoke to Scaramucci before publishing the story, and that Scaramucci told him, “Look I understand that interview was not off the record, totally within your rights to publish it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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