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While Boasting About His ‘Buddies’ on TV, Scaramucci Might Have Just Broken DOJ Rules

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White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci spoke to CNN at length Thursday morning about his mission to get to the bottom of information leaks from within the Trump administration. During the conversation, he said that he spoke about the leaks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his “buddies in the FBI.” Clearly, Scaramucci means business, but if he indeed spoke to Sessions and members of the FBI, this may have violated Justice Department protocols.

As Matthew Miller, Justice and Security Analyst for MSNBC, pointed out, there are rules against members of the White House and DOJ discussing certain matters, in order to keep the White House from influencing investigations.

 

“It’s quite inappropriate for anyone from the White House to have a contact with the FBI about a pending criminal investigation, that has been an established rule of the road, probably since Watergate,” Michael Bromwich, a former Department of Justice inspector general and director of the  Bureau of Ocean Energy Management under Obama, told The Atlantic for a February article.

More recently than Watergate, however, is a memo from then-Attorney General Eric Holder that says that White House-DOJ communications regarding matters involving investigations can only take place between the Counsel to the President, the Principal Deputy Counsel to the President, the President or the Vice President and the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General. Additionally, White House communications staff can speak with DOJ communications staff. That’s it. Scaramucci, who heads up White House communications, would not be permitted to discuss investigations with the Attorney General. Since many of the leaks Scaramucci is complaining about have to do with the Russia investigation, his talks with Sessions or FBI members could be a violation.

However, if Scaramucci was not inquiring about actual investigations or cases, this could be much ado about nothing. The same Holder memo says:

All communications between the Department and the White House or Congress that are limited to policy, legislation, budgeting, political appointments, public affairs, intergovernmental relations, or administrative matters that do not relate to a particular contemplated or pending investigation or case may be handled directly by the parties concerned.

Of course, besides the Russia investigation, there’s also the matter of Scaramucci’s own financial interests, as Miller pointed out. Since he’s now apparently talking to Sessions—himself the target of great criticism from President Donald Trump— this smells rotten, Miller says.

[Image via Fox News screengrab]

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