Political Insider

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Brothers in the White House: 'Some are like Cain and Abel'

It appears that head-hunting has become the hobby to emulate within the White House.

Obviously, President Donald Trump has it in for Jeff Sessions, his U.S. attorney general and the head of the Justice Department.

This morning, we find that Anthony Scaramucci, the new communications director in the White House, has chief of staff Reince Priebus in his sights. To explain:

-- Late Wednesday, Lorraine Woellert of Politico.com reported that, despite his new White House job, Scaramucci “still stands to profit from an ownership stake in his investment firm SkyBridge Capital.” The key paragraph:

The incoming White House communications director earned $4.9 million from his ownership stake in SkyBridge in addition to more than $5 million in salary between Jan. 1, 2016, and the end of June, when he joined the Export-Import Bank, according to a financial disclosure filed with the Office of Government Ethics.

-- The document mentioned above is publicly and legally available. But shortly before 1 a.m., Scaramucci sent out a message via Twitter – then deleted it. But not before The Hill newspaper had snagged an image of it:

    In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45

    — Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 27, 2017

Notice the tags #swamp and @Reince45. The latter is the Twitter account of Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

"As you know from the Italian expression, ‘The fish stinks from the head down.’ Well, I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, okay? And 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 to 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 podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other. 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….."

Just a few minutes ago, the author of the Politico piece who started this snowball rolling denied she had any help:


State Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, had a wry observation when asked Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s unusual announcement of a military ban on transgender service personnel. From 11Alive:

State Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-81), an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq, said that, for military personnel, this isn't an issue.


"The U.S. Department of Defense carefully studied this issue before implementing the current policy," Holcomb said. "It explained why it was changing its policy and addressed both issues of military readiness and cost. Other than a tweet from an unreliable source, I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that a serious review of existing policy took place."


You know that Emory University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are seeking annexation into the city of Atlanta.

One of the prime reasons: The opportunity to run a commuter rail line to an area unserved by either transit or interstates.

On Monday, at a meeting of the joint legislative MARTA oversight committee, state Sen. Vincent Fort accused Emory University and the CDC of jumping to the head of the line when it comes to transit - at the expense of southwest Atlanta residents he represents.

Fort is one of many candidates running for mayor of Atlanta this year. And until Wednesday, he was the only mayoral candidate to raise questions about the annexation. Former Atlanta city council president Cathy Woolard is now doing the same. From a note her campaign sent us:

"We have not heard how much it will cost Atlanta taxpayers annually to provide services like police, fire, and sanitation services to a large institution that pays zero in taxes. Until we have exact cost estimates, it is impossible for taxpayers to understand whether annexation of Emory University would be a net positive or negative for our budget."

Woolard also wants the City Council to hold off on inking concession contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport:

“This would effectively prevent the next mayor and Atlanta City Council from having any say on how and to whom contracts are awarded. The consistent shadow of doubt over our procurement processes will continue if these contracts are rushed through. Let’s begin the discussion of how we do these contracts next term.”


In Washington, Georgia lawmakers on Capitol Hill thwarted an attempt to add language to a House spending package that would have set the state back in its long-running water feud with Florida and Alabama.

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) brought an amendment before the House Rules Committee that would have barred the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing its new water plan for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. That plan, which the Corps released late last year, gives metro Atlanta virtually all the water it needs from the Chatthoochee River and Lake Lanier through 2050.

Action from Georgia lawmakers -- Republicans Doug Collins and Rob Woodall sit on the Rules Committee -- kept the amendment out of the final bill. They said the issue is a state-level one and that Congress shouldn't meddle, an argument that's worked in recent years as lawmakers from Florida and Alabama have sought to drop similar language in other legislation.


Add David Perdue to the list of Republican U.S. senators who are standing by beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions

"He has my confidence," the Georgia Republican, a top ally of President Trump on Capitol Hill, said Wednesday. "I thought he would make a great attorney general. So far from what I've seen of what he's doing over there, he's doing a good job."

Whereas some of Perdue's GOP colleagues have defended Sessions' move to recuse himself from the Justice Department investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia, Perdue said "I don't have an opinion about that one way or the other."

"I just think we've got much bigger problems that we've got to deal with in America and I want to focus on those," he said.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.