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Warfare in the West Wing breaks into the open as Scaramucci takes aim at Priebus

A knife fight for control of the West Wing broke into the open Thursday morning as President Trump's new communications director Anthony Scaramucci lashed out at White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in a televised interview, accusing Priebus of leaking and standing in the way of Trump's agenda.

"The fish stinks from the head down, I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, OK, and that’s me and the president," Scaramucci said, calling in to CNN's morning show "New Day."

"I don’t like the activity that’s going in the White House," he said.

Scaramucci, who had said the day he was named to the White House job that he and Priebus were like brothers, drastically amended that in the interview, comparing the two of them to the brothers who, in the Bible, were the characters in the first murder.

"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," he said.

President Trump has a track record of encouraging rivalries among people who work for him. Scaramucci said he had spoken with Trump for 15 minutes to go over what he was going to say before he called CNN, implying his warning to Priebus carried Trump's backing.

Trump, Scaramucci said, "has given me his full support and his full blessing."

When Scaramucci was hired, Trump told him he would report directly to the president, bypassing the chief of staff, and setting up the clash that played out Thursday on national television.

"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 podium, that's because we're rough on each other," Scaramucci said.

The tension between Scaramucci and Priebus flared after Politico published a story Wednesday about Scaramucci's publicly available financial disclosure form showing he still stands to profit from his stake in an investment firm he founded.

The disclosure form was available to the public because Scaramucci had been nominated earlier this year for a job at the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., and the forms become public 30 days after they are filed.

But Scaramucci, in a tweet Wednesday night, seemed to imply Priebus had leaked the form to make him look bad, or knew who did, and called for an FBI investigation. He later deleted the tweet, apparently after being informed that the form was not leaked. 

Over the last five days, Scaramucci said to CNN, he has done "a major amount of work" interviewing assistants to the president and communications staff. He also had dinner with Trump on Wednesday night in addition to his phone conversation with the president Thursday morning.

The two of them want everyone to know "we have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are, who the senior leakers are, in the White House," he said.

Scaramucci took aim specifically at Priebus for leaking details about internal White House discussions and maneuvers.

"If Reince wants to explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that," Scaramucci said.

Scaramucci appears to be giving voice to Trump's frustration with people in the White House the president believes are slowing down policy efforts, even though Trump has shown a pattern of repeatedly stepping on his own efforts on healthcare, job creation and other initiatives with unplanned tweets on topics such as Russia, transgender troops and unfounded allegations of voter fraud. 

"There are people inside this administration who think it's their job to save America from this president," Scaramucci said. "It's not their jobs ... to rein him in or do things to him that slow down his agenda."

People in the Washington are back-stabbers, Scaramucci said. 

"I'm more of a front-stabbing person."

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