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New Excerpts from Upcoming Book on Trump Administration Released; Interview with Anthony Scaramucci. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 4, 2018 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are doing a split show, I see. It's Thursday, January 4th, 8:00 in the east.

OK, listen up, everyone. There are new excerpts that have just been released this morning from this book that is rocking the White House. These new quotes that we will read you highlight the dysfunction within the Trump administration. These are in addition to the big headlines that we have already been reading to you in which former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon blasts that Trump Tower meeting the Russians during the 2016 campaign as quote, "treasonous" and "unpatriotic."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's lawyer sending a cease and desist letter to Bannon over his explosive comments in the book. The president says after Bannon lost his White House job, he lost his mind. He accuses his former chief strategist of spending his time in the White House leaking false information to make himself seem more important than he was, a criticism first leveled in a more colorful fashion by our next guest, Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director. It's good to see you.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Hey, really good to see you again. Happy New Year. I am admiring the Cuomo family crest on your tie.

CUOMO: There is no real one, but I thought it was a nice gift.

SCARAMUCCI: Hard to believe that the Cuomos think they have a family crest.

CUOMO: The Cuomos know they do not have a family crest, but I see what you are doing, my undersized friend, you are trying to distract from the news.

SCARAMUCCI: I'm the right size for you.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: Listen, you're the right man for the job today. Everything you used to say about Steve Bannon was just your opinion. It is now shared by the president of the United States and a lot of other people are weighing in. What is your take on Steve Bannon's attack on Trump's family and the nature of these meetings as being wrong, treasonous, and that money laundering is going to wind up being the undoing of this administration?

SCARAMUCCI: Let's talk about the treason thing because you have to have criminal intent obviously. We both know that. Donald Trump Jr. is a very patriotic guy. He's a very honest guy. And so I would bet my life savings on the fact that he's done absolutely nothing treasonous. So if Steve actually said that, and let's say that he did say that, I think it's just a ridiculous comment, and if he was a smart enough guy and a good enough strategist he'd get on the TV or somewhere and say I'd like to take it back if I said it.

CUOMO: He's been on record a couple of times since it came out and he has not denied it, he has not backed off.

SCARAMUCCI: So it's a stupid thing to say. Let's just put it that way. OK, so that's number one.

As it relates to the other stuff in the book, I was there for a lot of it, Chris, and I can tell you a lot of the stuff does not seem right to me. The first example is the president not wanting to win or not thinking he was going to win. Certainly we all had great uncertainty around the campaign and the tightness of the polling, but nobody wanted to win more than the president of the United States, and frankly nobody worked harder.

And I will take you back to 24 hours before the campaign, 10:00 at night in Pennsylvania, and then flying up to Michigan to hit Michigan one more time. President Trump, then-candidate Trump wasn't leaving any in the tank, Chris. This is a guy who is a winner. He's been a winner his whole life. And so someone saying they didn't think he was going to win or he was winning by losing, I sort of thing that's a bunch of nonsense.

You guys are for facts first, and you guys are for real news, and so I am just asking an open question to everybody, who is verifying what was said in the book? We are reading the quotes on the TV and on the prompter, and people are doing it all over the United States right now, but who's calling up the people that supposedly are calling the president names which I know they don't feel that way about the president. So I am trying to understand what is real in the book and what is factually accurate and what's fake.

CUOMO: Always a legitimate question. We do know that you guys gave Michael Wolff unprecedented access so he was able to be in there and watch things go on.

SCARAMUCCI: You say that, but I am going to be very honest, I only met him one time in the transition, and I was interviewed by him when I was in my purgatory after Reince and Steve blocked me from my OPL job and I was in purgatory. I interview with him for TheStreet.com. So I didn't see him that much. So when people says he had all this access and all this sort of stuff, I do also think that's exaggerated.

CUOMO: Again, you've got to take him at his word until it comes out that otherwise is true. He says he was there a lot. He says he has records of it -- SCARAMUCCI: You don't take the president at his word a lot. The

president said he had nothing to do with the Russians. The president said he had nothing to do with collusion.

CUOMO: Who doesn't take him at his word on that?

SCARAMUCCI: I don't know. There's a lot of speculation, there's a lot of accusations.

CUOMO: You are now doing what you say you don't want done. That's not a verifiable claim. Certainly we have never said that you can't believe the president about not having something --

SCARAMUCCI: I am not saying you. I am just pointing out the mass hysteria that's going on in society.

CUOMO: But it's about what Trump did or not did. See that is, certainly about polarity, but it's about the role of the administration in a general polarity as well. The president makes this about whether or not his win was legitimate, whether or not he had anything to do with Russia. The questions are much more open- ended --

SCARAMUCCI: The president knows his win is legitimate, the president knows he has had no collusion with Russia, the president knows that he was playing to win. Donald Trump, Jr., if he was sitting with you right now and you said did your father look like a ghost on the night of the election? He absolutely didn't.

[08:05:13] I was with these guys on the night of the election. He did not look like a ghost.

CUOMO: But different things --

SCARAMUCCI: I will say this about the president. He's a superstitious guy. He told Mnuchin and I that he didn't want to have a big ballroom because we were uncertain about the election, but he was playing to win and he's now the president of the United States. That's a little bit of nonsense in the book.

CUOMO: Maybe, maybe not.

SCARAMUCCI: That stuff is nonsense in my opinion.

CUOMO: And that's why you are here, and Michael Wolff will have to stand for his reporting and he'll have to back it up when questioned.

SCARAMUCCI: He seems like a nice gut. I am not trying to hit Michael Wolff, but I think what Steve did, if everything has been said about Steve and he's talking like that, I think it's absolutely ridiculous and he should walk it back.

CUOMO: He's had opportunities. He says he supports the president.

SCARAMUCCI: I said the truth six months ago what he was like as a person. CUOMO: You think he's disloyal?

SCARAMUCCI: I think he's for Steve. At the end of the day, what I said, taking out the expletives, he's for Steve, we are for the president. If you love your country, President Donald J. Trump is our president, let's go out and help him. I am not for myself. I said that in the interview that unfortunately got picked up on that recorded phone line. But I was there to serve the president.

CUOMO: Why was Bannon there?

SCARAMUCCI: I think the president wanted to reward him for a job well done during the campaign, but I think he diversed from the president and he started focusing on his own brand, and that was very damaging. It wasn't the right thing to do.

CUOMO: Why did the president keep him?

SCARAMUCCI: Did he keep him?

CUOMO: He was there a long time.

SCARAMUCCI: Seven months is a long time?

CUOMO: But in your administration that's a long time. You were there 11 days. You had almost a dozen people out within months.

SCARAMUCCI: Eleven days is also 954,000 seconds. You put it that way it seems like a long time.

CUOMO: In the context of this administration you make it a year, you are going to have a white beard.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't agree with that. There will be there that will be way longer than a year.

CUOMO: We have never seen this many people out in an administration.

SCARAMUCCI: In my opinion that's a tribute to the way the president thinks as a business leader and entrepreneur. If things are not working in a business, you go to people, you tap them on the shoulder and say hey, I'm sorry, it's not working. And myself, I got fired, I took it like a man and I walked out graciously.

But I'm not going to break from the president. I'm not going to be disloyal to the president. I am still on his team, I support his agenda, I think he is doing a great job for the country. So what do you mean he's doing a great job? Taxes are going to be lower, disposable income is up for middle class families, wages are up, we have had three plus percentage, GDP points in the last year. The former administration said we would never grow at three percent again.

So you take all of those things, we can talk about national security as well. The president is doing a very good job, I can't do one thing my liberal friends can point out that the president has done in 2017 that has hurt them or hurt the country. It just hasn't happened. So he's doing a good job. People may not like his tweeting, they may not like his style, they may not like his combative personality, but let me tell you, if he didn't have that combative personality and he didn't use the social media the way he did, he wouldn't be president.

CUOMO: Look, all of this is a function of perspective. On the policies you can go back and forth all day. There is a different conversation this morning, which is dysfunction is not good for anybody. Having a government that can't get out of its own way and a White House that can't --

SCARAMUCCI: What are you talking about? This guy left the White House in August. The White House is functioning way better today than at any time in the last year.

CUOMO: But that's because there's been such a bad show going on there.

SCARAMUCCI: Hey Chris, the guy that fired me, General Kelly, OK, let's pay him a compliment, OK. He's running the White House way better than it was run prior to July 31st.

CUOMO: And why did Kelly need to be brought in on your own supposition of fact? Why was he brought in? Because it was a circus.

SCARAMUCCI: Internecine fighting. There was ridiculous, unconscionable leaking going on, the president pointed it out yesterday, I pointed it out. And when he hired me and he said, hey, go after the leakers. The mistake I made other than the interview that I gave is I was handling it like a CEO, handling like a business executive and not like one of these surreptitious, phony boloney political operatives. I probably would have lasted longer if I handled it that way. I went at those people very aggressively, very similarly to the way the president went after Steve yesterday.

CUOMO: Anthony, how do you look at the last year, as anybody, as CEO, a cab driver, doesn't make a difference, and say that all the comings and goings are a function of good business sense by Donald Trump and not as incompetence and picking people who were over there head and couldn't get the job done?

[08:10:00] SCARAMUCCI: This is what I love about you. Look at outcomes. To me, the 78 Yankees, the '86 Mets, they won the World Series. Was there some dysfunctions? Sparky Lyle wrote about the Bronx Zoo. People have a tendency when they get to very high level of power to act a little dysfunctional. You think there weren't dysfunctional people in the Obama administration or other places?

CUOMO: Why have we never seen turnover like this before?

SCARAMUCCI: Because the president has a different operating style. He got to be president because of that operating style. But let's focus on the dashboard, the economic dashboard, the national security dashboard, our alliances, our adversaries, how is he handling the whole scope --

CUOMO: He has plenty of criticism on all of those points. SCARAMUCCI: I am not criticizing him on this.

CUOMO: Not your team.

SCARAMUCCI: Hold on a second, are you going to criticize him on the economy? You can't look at the economy over the last year and say that the administration hasn't done a good job.

CUOMO: Of course you could. First of all, every administration deserves credit and blame for what happens on its watch, so you get good data, you deserve credit just by dint of being there. But as we all know, and people do when the opportunity, suits them, you start looking at job growth in the beginning of the year, that's not about this administration. It's about carryover from what happened after it. The longer you go the more you assign direct responsibility for what happened.

SCARAMUCCI: You win on that point. I am going to give you that point. But let me make a very broader point. He's a pro-business guy, he's a pro-growth guy.

CUOMO: And this tax plan shows it because he benefited business over the families he said he was for.

SCARAMUCCI: But that's not really true, Chris. Go through the tax code. Each middle class family is getting roughly $2,000 more of disposable --

CUOMO: I'm not saying they get nothing. Nobody is saying that, and if they are, they have not read the bill, which takes forever. But I'm saying his point was it's a middle class tax cut, I'm putting you people first. So people like the families where you grew up and where I grew up, it doesn't do that.

SCARAMUCCI: It does do that, and that's where we're going to disagree.

CUOMO: You think it helps those people more than anyone else?

SCARAMUCCI: I didn't say it helps them disproportionately.

CUOMO: But that's what he promised.

SCARAMUCCI: Hold on a second. He's not done with his agenda. There's a lot of legs to his agenda. He has to work on the health care plan, he's got to work on DACA. You've got to give the administration a little bit of credit for the following. They have a pro-growth, pro-business agenda that is now filtrating through the economy. Wages, I study wages. I am trained as an economist. Wages have blown in the United States from 2006. They're down 11 percent in real economic terms.

Since he became president, let's not give him credit for the first quarter, but the last two quarters there has been staggering wage growth on his watch. That's because he's a pro-business person. People were reserving cash, reserving capital under the Obama watch because he was anti-business. The president, President Obama would say I wasn't anti-business, but you know what, sir, that was your perception. The president's perception is that he's pro-growth, he's pro the economy.

CUOMO: Right, and the numbers will tell the story. The numbers will tell the story and it will be reflected in the polls.

SCARAMUCCI: Hey, pal, if you are not a team player, get off the field.

CUOMO: What if his loyalty is to the truth? I am not Bannon's advocate, but I'm saying what if he is saying this is how I saw it? You take a meeting like they took at Trump Tower, you are dumb at a minimum and you're dangerous at a maximum.

SCARAMUCCI: I disagree with both of those.

CUOMO: You would have taken the meeting?

SCARAMUCCI: He's a smart guy. Would I have taken that meeting?

CUOMO: I send you an email saying this guy want to give you Russian government information about Hillary, you take the meeting?

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to tell you why, I have done a lot of stupid things in my life, OK, so I'm not going to sit here sanctimoniously telling you that I wouldn't have taken meeting or taken the meeting. What I am going to tell you, because I know for a fact and I would put all of my money on the table on this, that Donald J. Trump, Jr., is an honest guy.

When Steve Cohen had his problem on Wall Street and I was on CNBC I defended Steve Cohen. He is opening for business on February 1st. He is an honest guy. When Jon Corzine, he's not in my party, but he was my former boss, they said he stole money, and I said there was no way the guy stole money. I was a love wolf out there advocating for Jon Corzine as an honest person. He didn't steal any money, Chris. Donald J. Trump, Jr., is a very honest person, he's an American patriot, and to call him treasonous, you have got something wrong with you, pal. You've got to get back to your therapist and get back on the air and take it back.

CUOMO: And he won't do it. Bannon's not doing it, and he has had plenty of opportunity.

SCARAMUCCI: So it's a sign of what he is like as a person, it's a sign that it's his way or the highway, it's all the things that the president said about him in his statement, and it's all the things frankly that I was saying about him, it's nonsensical. You are on the president's staff, you're on his team. Whatever mistakes I made I put my heart and soul into it, and I am a loyal guy, and as far as I am concerned he was not.

CUOMO: Is it true that you may wind up back in the White House?

SCARAMUCCI: I don't even know why people are saying that. I've never had a conversation with the president about that or his family. I am more focused on my house, Chris, than I am the White House.

CUOMO: All right, I'll take it at that. So you are in the book, the Michael Wolff book. There are a couple excerpts.

SCARAMUCCI: Did he spell my name right?

[08:15:00]

CUOMO: Yes, they got it right.

SCARAMUCCI: OK.

CUOMO: The 11 days of Anthony Scaramucci. He talks about you. He says you're a minor figure in the New York financial world, and quite a ridiculous one. This is Wolff. Overnight, you would become Jared and Ivanka's solution.

Is that true, did Jared and Ivanka put you in the White House?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, it's probably true that I'm minor and ridiculous. But I don't think that that's true. I had the conversations directly with the president about going into the White House.

CUOMO: Why? Why did they want you there?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I think --

CUOMO: Because he says you're from New York, you're good on TV, they hired you to replace Priebus and Bannon who were trying to take over the White House. Was that the dynamic?

SCARAMUCCI: I didn't see that at all. In my conversation with the president I said there were a few things we could do to help reshape his communication strategy, and I would be very happy to help him do that, if he had an interest in that. He said he did.

One of the other things he charged me with was to see if I could not only help with the communication strategy but we have to put down some of the internecine fighting and the leaking that was going on inside the system. So, to me, I got hired to do that. Unfortunately, when you're hired to start firing people, you know, it's Washington, the knifes out, and, you know, I got fired as well.

And, by the way, I made a mistake. I owned up to the mistake, I'm accountable for the mistake. You've never heard any whining from me. You and I know each other for a long time. I don't say I resign.

I got fired. I got fired by General Kelly because the comments I made that were picked up on a recorded line, by somebody I trusted whose family has known my family in Long Island for 50 years, OK, Frank Lizza knows my father, Alex Scaramucci, for 50 years, I trusted him.

I made a mistake. I owned it, got fired. No problem.

CUOMO: Do you think you should have been fired?

SCARAMUCCI: That's not for me --

CUOMO: Because you talk loyalty all the time about Trump. He's so loyal. He's loyal. I don't see the signs of loyalty specifically in your case.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, let me tell you something. That was not for me to decide and at the end of the day, the president went with General Kelly, as his chief of staff.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: General Kelly wanted to make staff changes below his level that was his right to do that and as an American business person, unfortunately, I have been on the other side of that where I had to fire people that I actually liked but I don't think that they fit.

CUOMO: This wasn't a business decision?

SCARAMUCCI: I didn't say it was a business decision. But maybe it was strategic as it relates to General Kelly. Maybe he wanted somebody different --

CUOMO: Where is the loyalty in that?

SCARAMUCCI: It's politics, Chris. Your family has been in politics your whole life.

CUOMO: You are either about loyalty or you're not. You look at the people that work for the Cuomo administrations or even the ones. Loyalty matters.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You say loyalty matters. All of his guys got thrown out. I just don't see loyalty as a brand that you should be ascribing to the president.

SCARAMUCCI: OK. You say that, but le me ask you something, though, OK? Every one of the guys that have gotten thrown out, probably with the exception of Bannon, still talks to the president, still has a good relation with the president and the president's family. So, I don't get -- it's politics, Chris. I get it.

CUOMO: He's supposedly not a politician.

Let me ask you other thing.

SCARAMUCCI: Go ahead.

CUOMO: The president, how --

SCARAMUCCI: That was a good line, by the way. I will give you that one, too. Go ahead.

CUOMO: The impact of the book on the president, how angry do you think this stuff is going to make him?

SCARAMUCCI: I don't -- you see, I think -- again, you know how I feel about Sarah, and I think she's done an amazing job in her role, she's a very compassionate person. I haven't talked to the president since the book came out or since the statement, OK? My gut tells me that he's probably not all that angry as much as he is distracted by it by it. He thinks it's another unnecessary distraction.

CUOMO: He says his son is treasonous and you don't think it makes him angry?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, I don't think -- see this is another misnomer about the president in my opinion. People think he's angry and volatile and temperamental and all this sort of stuff -- I don't see that in the guy's personality at all, OK. I see the guy is honest and straightforward. Sometimes he wears a lot on his sleeve. Sometimes he wears a lot on his sleeve on Twitter, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't describe him as angry as much as I would describe him as frustrated because when he let Bannon go, he sent out a nice tweet about him and he wanted to have some level of cordiality --

CUOMO: He said he lost his mind.

SCARAMUCCI: He didn't want to go with Judge Roy Moore. He wanted to go with Big Luther, as we both know. And so, there were a lot of breaks that Bannon made from the president. He went against him on the Afghanistan decision, 4500 troops. He went against him on the Alabama situation. And so, you'd have to say what the president said and what I said over the summer, Steve is out for Steve.

And so, what I would say to Steve, let's put the party back together, cut your nonsense, OK, we've got to play on one team and we are playing for the country and playing for middle class families and the forgotten people of the country. That's what I would say.

CUOMO: Anthony Scaramucci, if nothing else, you put the fun in dysfunction.

SCARAMUCCI: I need a Cuomo crest time.

CUOMO: There is no --

SCARAMUCCI: There's no Italians that have crest.

CUOMO: That's not true. Lots of Italians have crest. We don't --

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, more than Italian.

CUOMO: But I like the tie, so I will.

SCARAMUCCI: You are not from the north, Cuomo. I know where your family is from.

CUOMO: That's true. I'm from the south. You are finally right about something.

Anthony Scaramucci, thank you very much.

[08:20:02] Happy New Year to you.

Alisyn, to you. You should have a family crest.

CAMEROTA: Oh, I do. He puts the mooch in Scaramucci. We appreciate that conversation.

Let's discuss now with our CNN political analyst Josh Green, the author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Trump and the Storming of the Presidency", and CNN political director David Chalian.

David, we have some new excerpts from the book. Before we get to those, do you want to say anything about Scaramucci?

CHALIAN: Well, I thought what was most interesting in the interview, in what was a totally interesting interview, is the full concession and acknowledgment from Scaramucci that the first year wasn't working, because he told us to -- he just said to Chris, to equate that all the senior staff turnover that we've seen and Chris is right to point out, it's been at an unprecedented level in his first year of the administration, that that should be attributed to the business sense of the president acknowledging and realizing that his White House wasn't working.

So, I -- to have somebody who didn't serve as communications director for only 11 days, but more importantly, somebody who was around the Trump team through the campaign and into the administration, to acknowledge that, the president clearly understood his presidency wasn't working, I don't think we've really heard that before.

CAMEROTA: So, Josh, listen, you have written a book about Steve Bannon, and what have these last 24 hours been like for you? Why did Steve Bannon talk to Michael Wolff in so candid way, or is he also undisciplined and has loose lips?

JOSHUA GREEN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: Much like Trump himself, I think he's a bit of a narcissist. And clearly, you know, these guys were all driven by ego, not just Bannon, but all the other senior officials that talked to Wolff for his book, because it's such a damning portrayal. Clearly, they trusted him and thought this was going to be a positive experience that would, you know, inscribe their place in history and make Trump and the White House look better, you know, and instead they have gotten just the opposite.

CUOMO: You know, one of the interesting things is that when you listen to Scaramucci, he was always anti-Bannon. One of the problems they had in that White House, which isn't unusual, but this would be a seen of degree, which was how much internecine strikes --

CAMEROTA: Oh, fiefdoms, we've always read about.

CUOMO: But, you know, the president also had questions about loyalty with Steve Bannon, and, David, it raises questions about what Bannon is doing now. This conversation obviously took place a long time ago that he had with Michael Wolff, but he has had a chance to back off his statements about Trump Jr., about Jared Kushner and Manafort in that meeting, and he hasn't.

What does that tell you about Steve Bannon?

CHALIAN: We should make clear here, Chris, Steve Bannon doesn't have firsthand knowledge about what took place in that meeting or doesn't have -- he wasn't even around in the campaign at the time, he doesn't have first place knowledge -- firsthand knowledge of details of the Russia investigation. But what you have here and why what Bannon has put forth in the Wolff book is so damning, you have somebody who sat at the very center inside the Trump circle for a year, and you have his characterization of what that meeting was, his sense of what a bad idea that was, his sense that it was outrageous that they did not call the FBI.

And yes, they are score settling, as josh said, Steve has an ego, too. There's no doubt about that. But what is so different and why there's such a unique moment and why there's such reaction to this is because from the most inner circle location, we are now getting a characterization of what is a fundamental moment in the overall Russia investigation, and it's not one that matches anything else that Trump world has said about.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, let's dive into that. There are new excerpts from this book that has just been released in the past hour. "The Hollywood Reporter" has this so, let's just read some of these to everyone.

This is about the Russia investigation. These are the thoughts of the author, Michael Wolff.

Most succinctly, no one expected him to survive Mueller, he's talking I assume about Trump. Whatever the substance of the Russia collusion, Trump in the estimation of his senior staff did not have the discipline to navigate a tough investigation nor the credibility to attract the caliber of lawyers he would need to help him. At least nine major law firms had turned down an invitation to represent the president.

Josh, that's new.

GREEN: Well, we knew that law firms had turned -- I didn't know the number was as high as nine, but clearly the idea that Trump is undisciplined, is unlikely to subordinate his impulses to the advice of a lawyer, even in the face of a special counsel investigation, has been an ongoing problem throughout his presidency. And we've seen time and time again, he will be quiet for a little while and then he'll kind of erupt on Twitter.

[08:25:03] His legal team, which Bannon was actually instrumental in bringing together before he was pushed out of the White House, his struggle from the get-go to get him not to tweet or attack Bob Mueller and the investigation.

CUOMO: All right. Here's the next one, put up the next excerpt.

CAMEROTA: OK. Listen, this is really long, so everybody just settle in, get comfortable because this is a fascinating one because it tells you what Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway were thinking after they go out on TV and say sometimes fantastical things. Here it is.

You can't make this blank up, Sean Spicer soon to be portrayed as the most hapless man in America, muttered to himself after his tortured press briefing on the first day of the new administration when he was called to justify the president's inaugural crowd numbers and soon enough, he adopted this as a personal mantra.

Reince Priebus, the new chief of staff, had, shortly after the announcement of his appointment in November, started to think he would not last until the inauguration. Then, making it to the White House, he hoped he could last a respectable year but he quickly scaled back his goal to six months.

Kellyanne Conway would put a finger gun to her head in private about Trump's public comments. She continued to mouth an implacable defense on cable television until she was pulled off the air by others in the White House who, however much the president enjoyed her. found her militancy idiotic. Even Ivanka and Jared regarded Conway's fulsome defenses as cringeworthy.

David, fascinating?

CHALIAN: These are clearly Wolff's observations, right?

CUOMO: Right.

CHALIAN: This is not a sourced -- we don't have quotes here, we don't know who described this to him other than the Sean Spicer quote. But these are overall sort of Wolff's observations, I guess, and so, we'll have to see if this matches -- I'm sure we'll hear from Kellyanne Conway if we haven't already about --

CUOMO: Right, but they will say that it doesn't, that all of this isn't true. I mean, if you are still in the White House, you will dispute all of this.

CHALIAN: Well, that may be --

CUOMO: She's certainly close to the president. He certainly regards her highly. She certainly gets to go on TV whenever she wants to. So, it's not like she's being silenced.

CAMEROTA: But did she put a finger gun to her head whenever the president speaks?

CUOMO: I don't know. You're going to have to ask her. But she certainly thought that the president was going to win. You know, in this book, there's a suggestion that Kellyanne, nobody around him thought he was going to win. She was sticking her neck out, you know, and, you know, someone who's known her for a long time, I was saying, why are you -- you don't have to go all in and say he's going to win, and she did think he was going to win.

She clearly thought that, David. You remember. CHALIAN: She did think that. She was pretty committed to that notion. I actually think she may have thought that more than the president himself believed that at the time.

CUOMO: Yes, that was one of the problems for Scaramucci, too, David, his explanation of how hard the president was working, that is not necessarily a different reality than him working hard for himself and his brand extension and any future plans he had and his love of crowds and fame, and that doesn't tell us the reporting in here about the Ailes and his future plans, and I might win by losing, that that's true, because he liked going to those rallies, whether or not he thought they would win him the election, fair point?

CHALIAN: Yes, and it would be completely sort of against the facts of everything we know about Donald Trump for him not to be thinking during the course of the run for the presidency playing the angles of how this may work out if he doesn't win the presidency, how it may work out to benefit his business, it just would not be Donald Trump if he wasn't thinking that way.

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: All right. Josh Green, David Chalian, thank you. We have many more juicy tidbits to read for everyone coming up.

CUOMO: And if half of this is true, if just half is true of everything, it is unlike any kind of dysfunction we have ever heard about at any organization at this level.

President Trump starting 2018 with confrontation. His tweet storm breaking with Bannon. We're going to speak with a long-time Trump confidant and get his take on what all this means and the president's state of mind, next.