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Scaramucci Calls for Inquiry after 'Leak' of Financial Form. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 27, 2017 - 07:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- bad, badder and baddest choices.

[07:00:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard a girl scream "help," and I look over and I see her fly out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was screaming for her mom. Her mom wouldn't wake up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Horrible scene. Sick to my stomach.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning. We welcome our viewers in the United States right now.


CUOMO: Sometimes we say around the world, but we'll stick to the United States for now. This is NEW DAY.

The White House crackdown on leaks took a really bizarre twist. And there's a lot of controversy going on. It needs to be cleared up, and it's centering around the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. He took to Twitter last night. He was calling for a federal investigation into the leaks of his financial disclosure form. He then deleted the tweet, which seemed to accuse chief of staff Reince Priebus of leaking. There's a lot of bad blood there. The situation needs to be cleared up, and we're trying to get to the bottom of it.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, President Trump continues his attacks on the head of the Department of Justice, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

All this comes as the Senate gets set to vote on its best shot to get a health care plan passed. So what is in the so-called skinny repeal that they're working on today? CNN has it all covered.

Let's begin with CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns. He is live at the White House. Give us the latest, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, you know that incoming communications director here, Anthony Scaramucci, walked in the door, making it clear that he was taking on illegal leaks, making them a priority. And then Politico reported on the contents of his financial disclosure form. Then Scaramucci claimed he, too, was the victim of an illegal leak.

But it's just not clear right now whether it was illegal, even whether it was a leak, because it could have been obtained through official channels.


JOHNS (voice-over): Anthony Scaramucci ramping up his rhetoric against leakers, tweeting that he will be contacting the FBI and the Justice Department about the alleged leak, hashtag #swamp, before cryptically tagging White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Ryan Lizza, a reporter for "The New Yorker," tweeting shortly after that that he can confirm that Scaramucci went to the FBI to investigate Priebus for leaks.

RYAN LIZZA, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORKER" (via phone): I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that Anthony Scaramucci believes this, and that was exactly his intention when he tweeted this.

JOHNS: Scaramucci deleted that tweet over two hours later, calling reports that he was going after Priebus wrong, although Lizza stands by his reporting. Hours earlier, Scaramucci told FOX News he believes the leaks are coming from the top.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: And one of the big problems here that I'm discovering in the coms team is that senior people are really the guys doing the leaking. And they ask junior people to leak for them. And so I'm very proud to be reporting directly to the president so that I can hermetically seal off the coms team from this sort of nonsense.

JOHNS: The Justice Department responding to Scaramucci's interview with a statement noting, "Like the attorney general has said, whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail, and we will aggressively pursue leak cases wherever they may lead."

Scaramucci taking a page out of his boss's playbook by taking to Twitter to air grievances with his fellow colleagues, while President Trump continues to publicly attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, despite growing backlash from conservatives and his senior advisers, urging him to stand down.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I don't fully understand why the -- why the president has said what he said, but I think Jeff deserves better treatment.

JOHNS: The turmoil in President Trump's inner circle comes as the Pentagon was left scrambling after Mr. Trump abruptly announced on Twitter a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military, a stark reversal from the promises the president made to the LGBTQ community on the campaign trail.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: I served active duty in the military, and I can tell you, we don't care about gender orientation or identity or who you love. We just care you can shoot straight and complete the mission.


JOHNS: Now, that announcement is likely to shore up support for the president among his conservative base, some of whom had been critical of him in his pursuit, if you will, of the attorney general. The announcement also controversial because of the timing that came during the week the administration had originally designated as American Heroes Week to focus on service members -- Chris and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much for all of that.

Joining us now on the phone is CNN political commentator and Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker," Ryan Lizza. Ryan reported last night that Anthony Scaramucci's now deleted tweet was, in fact, aimed at Reince Priebus.

Ryan, thank you very much for being here to help us understand what happened with this tweet. Delete that happened from about 10:40 last night to after midnight. So let me read the original Anthony Scaramucci, now the director of communications for the White House, his original mysterious tweet said this. "In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info, which is a felony, I will be contacting the FBI and the Justice Department, #swamp @Reince," meaning Reince Priebus.

What's your reporting on this?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via phone): First of all, my apologies for not being in there with you guys. I'm on a little bit of dad duty this morning. But...

CAMEROTA: Understood...

LIZZA: This is quite an unusual set of circumstances. So let me -- let me back up and try to explain what I know. But at 10:28 p.m. last night, I was talking to a senior White House official, and the senior White House official was blaming Reince Priebus for leaking Anthony Scaramucci's financial disclosure to Politico yesterday.

Here's a direct quote from that recorded interview. "Scaramucci has talked to both the FBI and the Department of Justice about the leak of his financial disclosure," end quote. And this person made it very clear that it was Reince that needed to be investigated for this.

That conversation happened at 10:28 p.m. At 10:41 p.m., Anthony Scaramucci publicly tweeted what we've -- what we've just showed, saying that he wants the FBI to investigate this and sort of cryptically tagging Reince Priebus's Twitter handle. To me it was very obvious what he was saying there.

But just in case there was any ambiguity, I noticed on Twitter there was ambiguity. In fact, before that tweet happened, I was preparing to report this myself. And then I saw the tweet, and I saw that people thought there was ambiguity. And I tweeted, you know, just in case there was any ambiguity, I know that Scaramucci was blaming Reince for this and wanted the FBI to investigate him.

Those two tweets, mine and Scaramucci's, sort of blew up, went viral last night to the small population that was up and paying attention to this. And subsequently, Scaramucci deleted his tweet.

CUOMO: Right.

LIZZA: And then said that he was not indeed talking about Reince.

CAMEROTA: In fact, he said, "Wrong." Let me just read it for everybody. "Wrong in terms of that speculation. Tweet was public notice to leakers that all senior administration officials are helping to end illegal leaks, @Reince."

CUOMO: They wind up taking it back to the same place, right? Both can be right in an odd way. Because Anthony could say, "Well, I wasn't targeting him. I was just talking about leakers in general." But he may be talking about Reince.

And why would that be, Ryan Lizza? Because isn't it the truth of the situation that there is actually bad blood here and that Anthony Scaramucci isn't necessarily the aggressor here. It has been Reince Priebus where Scaramucci is involved. There's a lot of reporting that he has been going after him. He didn't want him to have a job. He's not happy about this job. Can you confirm that?

LIZZA: Yes, absolutely. And Scaramucci has not been shy in telling people privately that over the last, you know, month since he was offered the job of public liaison and then moved to sell his -- you know, divest of all his assets that created the conflict of interest, and then he wasn't brought into the White House for that job.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Ryan...

LIZZA: He was sort of left in limbo.

CAMEROTA: Ryan, so sorry to interrupt you right now. If you would stand by for a second, that would be great, because we actually have Anthony Scaramucci on the phone.

CUOMO: Right. So let's get him. White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci joins us this morning.

Anthony Scaramucci, can you hear us?

SCARAMUCCI (via phone): Yes. When I was speaking to you last night, Ryan, I said it was unpatriotic that you weren't telling me who the leakers were. I was on a plane landing in New York. I had to go visit my mom. And so you may have called it the wrong way. I was teasing you, and it was sarcastic. It was one Italian to another. It wasn't me trying to get you to say, if you could give me some sense of where they are, because I have a responsibility to the president of the United States...

CUOMO: Anthony...

SCARAMUCCI: When you said you -- when you said you didn't, I totally respect your journalism and your integrity.

CUOMO: Anthony, I don't know -- Anthony, I just want to make sure. I don't know if Ryan could hear you. But just in case, it did go out over the air. So he heard what you meant when you were talking to him about being unpatriotic. Let's just reset us at zero here.

What's going on, in your perspective?

SCARAMUCCI: But I also want to reset at zero, but I also want you to know that I just spent about 15 minutes on the phone, talking with the president of the United States, who has given me his full support and his full blessing, and I'm going to -- I'm going to read you something, Chris. And you bear with me.

And the president also told me, if you're nice to me in this segment, he'll let me come back on the show. Is that cool? So why don't you let me talk for a little bit, and then you can ask me questions.

But this is super, super important to the country. Now, whether you agree with the president or you disagree with the president, you have to love the institution of the presidency. You have to love the office and you have to love our country.

And what is going on right now, I've done a major amount of work over the last five days. I've interviewed most of the assistants to the president. I've interviewed most of the people in the communications team and the White House. And what the president and I would like to tell everybody, we have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are, who the senior leakers are in the White House. We'll get to that in a second.

[07:10:16] What I also want to say is that we are working together, the president and myself and other members of his team and law enforcement, to undercut and undercover -- out, if you will, the leakers in the entire country. As the president would say, the White House leakers are small potatoes. I'll tell you about a few leaks that happened last night that I find reprehensible.

But the White House leaks are small potatoes relative with things that are going on with leaking things about Syria or North Korea or leaking things about Iraq. Those are the types of leaks that are so treasonous that 150 years ago people would have actually been hung for those types of leaks.

So the president bought me in. He knows I'm his friend first, Chris. You're from New York, I'm from New York, the president is from New York. We had dinner last night. I sat next to the first lady. I love the president. I said that. I know the press wants to ridicule me for saying it six times from the podium. But we started out as friends. I am not a politician. I'm an American businessman and entrepreneur that built two businesses. And I try to play it straight with people. The president is trying to play it straight with people, which is why

he has 140 or 125 social media followers, because they want to hear it straight from the president. And I said to the president this morning, "I can't afford to be a sycophant to you, sir. I have to talk to you straight as a friend so I can help you with this problem."

And so what I want to say to you is I understand the law. I know that there was a public disclosure mechanism in my financial forms. What I'm upset about is the process and the junk pool, the dirty pool, Chris, in terms of the way this stuff is being done, and the leaking won't stop. I can't have a couple of friends up from "FOX & Friends" and Sean Hannity, who's one of my closest friends, to dinner with the president and his first lady without it being leaked in seven minutes. It's absolutely, completely and totally reprehensible.

And the -- as you know from the Italian expression, the fish stinks from the head down. But I can tell you two fish that don't stink. OK? That's me and the president.

I don't like the activity that's going on in the White House. I don't like what they're doing to my friend. I don't like what they're doing to the president of the United States or their fellow colleagues in the West Wing. Now, if you want to talk about the chief of staff, we have had odds. We have had differences.

When I said we were brothers from the -- from the podium, that's because we're -- some brothers are like Cain and Abel. Other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don't know if this is reparable or not. That will be up to the president. But he's the chief of staff. He's responsible for understanding and uncovering and helping me do that inside the White House, which is why I put that tweet out last night.

When the journalists who actually know who the leakers are, like Ryan Lizza, they know the leakers. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) explained at Lazo (Ph), these guys know who the leakers are. I respect him for not telling me, because I understand and respect journalistic integrity.

However, when I put out a tweet, and I put Reince's name in a tweet, they're all making the assumption that it's him, because journalists know who the leakers are. So if Reince wants to explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that.

Let me tell you something about myself. I am a straight shooter. I'll go right -- I'll go right to the heart of the matter. Because I'm done talking. You can ask me questions. But be nice on this segment, Chris. This is a very serious matter of interest to all of America.

CUOMO: Anthony, look, I know when you say be nice, you're in part joking. Because you know the job it to be fair. So let's be fair in this situation and try and get a sense of what's going on.

SCARAMUCCI: ... to Ryan Lizza unpatriotic, it had nuance, Chris.

CUOMO: Absolutely. Ryan heard it. He accepts what you said. SCARAMUCCI: Be fair, Chris. The truth of the matter is, I'm used to

all different types of questions. I'm used to meanness.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: It doesn't matter to me. I'm here to play it straight for the American people and to protect my friend who's the president of the United States. But go ahead.

CUOMO: And understood. And Alisyn and I have felt the bite of personal comments from power, as well, but we still do the job, and we do it the right way, because that's what matters more. So let's do that right now, instead of talking about it.


CUOMO: These tweets seem to indicate a problem that didn't start today. And I'm not talking about the leaking. It is well known, Anthony Scaramucci, that Reince Priebus was against you getting a job in the administration. You've talked about it privately with reporters. He has denied it, but there are tons of reports that that denial is hollow.

[07:15:03] And when you named him in the tweet, it seems to call that. Where is your head on that situation? What do you believe the reality to be? Because it seems much more like Cain and Abel than it does brothers who would get along.

SCARAMUCCI: Here's what I believe. After running two reasonably successful companies and one which the entire world knows, $180 million. Here's what I know: when you're running a successful company or an organization, you can take this human equation to the bank.

Under confidence plus insecurity always equals paranoia and backstabbing. So what you have to do as a manager, is you have to go through the process and assist them and figure out where the backstabbing is coming from. That will lead you to the people that are insecure or underconfident. If you can't bolster them and make them better, then you have to remove them from the process, because then it becomes addition by subtraction. That's what I know.

CUOMO: Understood.

SCARAMUCCI: So I don't want to talk about anybody specifically, because -- because we're on a live television wire, but the people know. The journalists know. You know, the young kids in the coms team are taking a lot of heat from me right now. They know, Chris. The people know. You know who knows? The president of the United States.

The president of the United States, again, whether you guys like the guy, dislike the guy, he's the smartest person that I've ever worked for. So let "Vanity Fair" write about that. I honestly don't care. He has intuition and judgment and he has the temperament in a way that I have never seen. Last night we were having dinner. I told his wife, I looked over to

the first lady and I said, "I forgot how much fun I used to have when I hung out with him on the campaign trail." He's a very interesting and very unique guy.

There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. OK. That is not their job. Their job is to inject this president into America so that he can explain his views properly, and his policies so that we can transform America and drain the swamp and make the system fairer for the middle and lower income people.

CUOMO: I understand that, Anthony.

SCARAMUCCI: It's not their job from the establishment through calcification to sit there and try to withhold the president...


SCARAMUCCI: ... to rein him in or do things to him to slow down his agenda.

CUOMO: All right. So let's...

SCARAMUCCI: That's not their job.

CUOMO: Let's talk about what we know a little bit. One is, yes, the president should be focused on making the lives of Americans better. It's what he promised. It's what the country needs. Understood.

Two, leaks happen, especially in political situations. There are different types of leaks. Some are about national security. They can be dangerous. They have to be policed. Understood.

Most are not that. Most are people surrounding a person in power who want to explain policy, who want to feed journalism, who have a lot of positive and benevolent intentions when they do so.

Three, this White House leaks more than any I have ever been in contact with.

SCARAMUCCI: It's ridiculous.

CUOMO: But I don't know if I'd use the word ridiculous, because I think that a lot of the leaks...

SCARAMUCCI: How is this, Chris? Unprofessional? You became a verbal proofreader overnight. How is unprofessional?

CUOMO: Listen, I'm careful about my words, because they matter. Anthony, here' s what I'm saying. I got your point. I just want to clarify, because I have a question.

SCARAMUCCI: I'm focused on the bad leaks. I know there's always going to be...

CUOMO: Well, but you seem to be focused on both.

SCARAMUCCI: Focused on what hurts the institution of the president and the president himself. I understand we have to leak things to reporters to help shape policy or try to balloon things or do tests on ideas or people for different jobs. I'm talking about nefarious, unnecessary, backstabbing, palace intrigue-like leaks. That's what I'm talking about.

CUOMO: And I understand why, personally and politically, that would be a problem, but the other concern with this -- I understand why that would be a personal incentive for you. I get it.

But what I'm saying is, it does seem as though the president has used leaks as a distraction from the substance and content of the investigation with Russia and that probe specifically, that he wants people to focus on where the information comes from let alone the information itself.

SCARAMUCCI: Here we go again. Here we go again. I'll say to the American people today. And I'll say it tomorrow and I'll say it until the investigation ends. And I said it to you a couple of weeks ago. I'll sit with you when the investigation is over and all these people are exonerated. I'll come and sit on the couch or chair by you, and we'll talk about that. OK?

I believe, as does the president, that there's nothing to the investigation. So we want to go back to the Russian investigation on the segment. We can do that, but it's not -- it's just not true.

CUOMO: I'm bringing it up because it's relevant, Anthony. Because that's when leaks...

SCARAMUCCI: ... Russian investigation and all this nonsense...

[07:20:04] CUOMO: But that's why the president brought them up in the first place. That's why I'm...

SCARAMUCCI: I think it's a bigger problem than that, Chris.

CUOMO: It may be to you.

SCARAMUCCI: ... problem than that.

CUOMO: It may be. I'm just saying that the concerns...

SCARAMUCCI: Let's try on CNN for, like, maybe five minutes not to focus on the Russia investigation.

CUOMO: Unfair, Anthony. Anthony, I brought you on this show this morning to give you a chance to clarify something that people beat you over the head with.

SCARAMUCCI: Why don't we go to Russia? Why don't we go to Russia at the end of the segment?

CUOMO: Contextually... SCARAMUCCI: Let's get the gun on the bird...

CUOMO: You said you want to be strong.

SCARAMUCCI: ... and talk about what's going on.

CUOMO: You said you want to do the job the right way.

SCARAMUCCI: What's going on inside the White House, what's going on inside the departments, inside the intergovernmental agencies, that we need to stop, because we're American citizens. And the people that are working in those jobs have to honor those jobs and honor the position that they have.

CUOMO: Fine. Fine.

SCARAMUCCI: Like I said about the West Wing, if there's 300 people working there and there's 300 million people in the country, you're one in a million.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: Why don't you honor the job? Joe Paterno, what would he say? Act like you've been there before. Act with honor and dignity and respect and hold the confidence of the presidency and his office. Why don't we do that?

If you want to leak something, you can have a new director of communications. If it's a leak that's going to help the presidency, why don't we do that?

CUOMO: Understood. That's something that you have to police politically.

SCARAMUCCI: A couple more minutes about Russia and then ask a few more questions but go to Russia at the end of the segment.

CUOMO: Anthony, we both know I'm going to ask what I think is important, and we both know I have trouble taking direction.

SCARAMUCCI: We know that. We know that from our hometown.

CUOMO: So the reason I brought up Russia, because contextually that's when the president started banging on leaks. Because he didn't like that information was coming out of it. He didn't like the implications of it politically. So he wanted to focus on the leaks instead of the substance. And I'm saying journalistically that is a concern.

Politically, I get why you want to put this message within your -- in your house.

SCARAMUCCI: Let me push back on that. I didn't study that like Quincy. I wasn't a coroner studying that. Remember the Jack Klugman show?

CUOMO: He was a medical examiner, not a coroner. Continue.

SCARAMUCCI: All right, whatever. I wasn't studying it back then, OK? That's a narrative that I think is a false narrative. I'm going to push back on the...

CUOMO: What is the false narrative?

SCARAMUCCI: The false narrative is no, he doesn't like the leaks coming out on Russia, so he's pushing back.

CUOMO: It's 100 percent true.

SCARAMUCCI: That isn't true.

CUOMO: It's 100 percent true. You just said it's true. You just said he doesn't like those leaks. Those are part of the leaks he doesn't like.

SCARAMUCCI: Scandals, Incorporated. Another fake scandal that we're going to manufacture, decide...

CUOMO: There's nothing fake about the Russia investigation. There's nothing fake about the e-mails that Don Junior put out about Russians trying to work him over.

SCARAMUCCI: Forget about the hacking. We're going to get into the hacking later. Talking about the collusion about the campaign with the Russians and the Russian government. That's the specific thing that I'm talking about, which you and I both know they can't find any evidence of anywhere. Now, you want to talk about the fact that the Russians could have possibly hacked into the system.

CUOMO: Not possibly, they did. Or something like that.

SCARAMUCCI: We can debate that later. OK.

CUOMO: I'm saying that's where the leaks stuff started with the president.

SCARAMUCCI: I'll stay on the side of the president. I said this to Tapper, Jake Tapper over the weekend. If the Russians really hacked that thing, they could possibly be clever enough not to leave any footprints. So the president is skeptical.

While we talked last night at dinner -- I hope he's not mad at me for relaying this on TV, but I'm going to relay it. He said that he thought for sure that, after reading all this stuff as an outsider, that there were actually weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He said that last night.

Then he said there obviously weren't weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so he has his guard up as it relates to some of the things that people say definitively and declaratively. The CIA director at that time said that the information related to weapons of mass destruction was a, quote unquote, slam dunk. I'm not going to bring the guy's name up. He's a terrific guy, and he made a mistake. Big deal. The point is, when you say that we know definitively or Jake Tapper

says that he knows definitively, thank God we have President Donald J. Trump in the room that's going to have a little bit of skepticism and a cautious eye on this stuff, protecting the American people and particularly American servicemen.

CUOMO: Except you're leaving part of it out, Anthony. You're leaving out that the reason Jake Tapper or any journalist talks about this is because the director of national intelligence, the head of CIA, the guys the president put in say it.

SCARAMUCCI: Before you say all that, I'm trying to give your viewers insight into the president's personality. The president says all the time, there is one country in the world that can take our country out in 35 minutes. I don't know if there's 8,700 nukes, whatever the numbers are. It's a big number. We -- it's incumbent upon us, and it's incumbent upon them, whatever you think of them, that we try to get along with each other.

Go to the next question. Go ahead.

CUOMO: Look, it's just that contextually, that's why I brought it up. It's not that we have some untoward fascination with an investigation. We do it because it threatens the foundation of the democracy. You know that. You know it matters.

SCARAMUCCI: I know it matters.

[07:25:07] CUOMO: The president should know it matters. They're questioning.

SCARAMUCCI: Kellyanne Conway has said it. I'll say it. The president has said it.

CUOMO: It's just an odd strategy for the president.

SCARAMUCCI: If there's smoking-gun proof, he will take action. He's looking at these sanctions right now. He may decide to veto the sanctions...


SCARAMUCCI: ... and be tougher on the Russians than the Congress.

CUOMO: Oh, so you think that if he vetoes it, it's because he wants something tougher than what they want in the sanctions bill?

SCARAMUCCI: He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians. It is a counterintuitive, counterpunching personality that, as I said, I was in Youngstown, Ohio, with him. You cannot believe the fan base there. The American people get it. The American people like what he's doing.

The establishment does not like what he's doing. He's going to disrupt the establishment. CUOMO: Why do you call the majority of America the establishment?

Why do you call them that? Because it's a disparaging thing. It's meant to be an insult. Why? Why insult the majority of the country?

SCARAMUCCI: Why insult the -- I didn't hear the question. Say it again.

CUOMO: Why insult the majority of the country by calling them them the establishment, like they're some type of other?

SCARAMUCCI: I'm not -- I'm not insulting the majority of the country.

CUOMO: The majority of the country...

SCARAMUCCI: You're really good with the verbal proofreading this morning.

CUOMO: Anthony, I'm saying it because polls make it clear that the majority of America doesn't approve of the president right now. So when you say his critics, you're talking about the majority of the country. I know he has his fan base...

SCARAMUCCI: ... polling inside the White House.

CUOMO: We saw it in -- we saw it in the general election. We saw it in the popular vote. We've seen it, in every poll that comes out, your own internal numbers.

SCARAMUCCI: Let's talk about what the approval ratings are right now. When you micro-analyze the approval ratings, there's aspects where -- and the questions come in. "I love the president but I dislike x, y, z," or "I like the president. I dislike x, y, z."

Once we start executing the president's agenda and once we talk clearly and directly to the American people and get the American people to light up Congress's switchboard, to help us execute the president's agenda, that's the only way we're going to really be able to drain the swamp.

CUOMO: But isn't this leak investigation -- isn't the leak investigation a distraction from the agenda?

SCARAMUCCI: What's that?

CUOMO: Isn't a big part of this leak investigation a distraction from that agenda?

SCARAMUCCI: How is it a distraction? We have to clamp down the leaks. The president and I are working together with a large group of people now to suppress and clamp down on the nefarious nature of these leaks.

And again, I'm going -- I'm talking about the stuff going on with leaking on Syria, North Korea. And like I said, the president views the White House leaks, a lot of this stuff, as small potatoes. I mean, I can't have dinner with the guy. Seven minutes later, five journalists know that I'm having dinner with him, and they have the guest list. I don't know.

Is that how we should be running the White House? You know we shouldn't be running the White House like that.

CUOMO: Look, I get why you want integrity of purpose within your White House. I think that your desire to be straight about it is important. I think that's why these tweets last night got you in a little bit of trouble, and I wanted to give you a chance to clarify it. If you have...

SCARAMUCCI: Believe me, let me tell you something. I work for one person. OK? I report to the president of the United States. I spoke with him for 15 minutes this morning. I'm far from in trouble.

CUOMO: I'm not saying you're in trouble. But I'm saying the tweets and deleting the tweets.

SCARAMUCCI: I have his full -- I have his full support. OK? The only thing he said to me is if you're going on Chris Cuomo's show, he'd better be nice to you this morning. Otherwise, I'm not going to let you go on.

But you're doing a good job so far.

CUOMO: But we both know.

SCARAMUCCI: Keep going. You have any other questions?

CUOMO: It's just not the job to be nice. It's to be fair. You know that, Anthony.

SCARAMUCCI: OK. I'm using his words, and they're very playful. And so let me make sure that I'm getting the nuance to you. These are playful, jocular words.

CUOMO: I know. I just want everybody else to know.

SCARAMUCCI: When I say to Ryan Lizza, "You're being unpatriotic," I understand and completely and totally respect journalistic integrity.

CUOMO: I got it. Now let me -- let me ask you a question that matter...

SCARAMUCCI: I wasn't a journalist, but I did play one on TV. And the journalists are figuring out whether they're on the left or on the right. I'm going to treat them with respect, dignity and kindness, because they're a member of the fourth estate. We all believe in the First Amendment. We're given the opportunity to review everything that we're doing.

CUOMO: I don't know any journalist who's trying to figure out if they're on the left or the right.

SCARAMUCCI: ... transparency, Chris.

CUOMO: I don't know any journalist who's trying to figure that out. Journalists know exactly where they're supposed to be when it comes to politics.

Let me ask you something. I want to give you a chance to clarify something.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't understand what that meant. What did you mean by that?

CUOMO: You said as journalists are trying to figure out if they're on the left or the right. I don't know any journalist who's trying to figure out if they're on the left or the right.

SCARAMUCCI: I said journalists are trying to figure out the administration. Let me rephrase it.

CUOMO: Please.

SCARAMUCCI: I want to be very clear this morning. As the journalists are trying to figure out the administration, whether they are on the left or the right, I want to offer them dignity...


SCARAMUCCI: ... and class and kindness in their pursuit. I get the fourth estate, and I understand why the First Amendment is embedded in the Constitution.

I'm not -- I'm just talking about the spectrum of journalists that come into the White House compound.