Anthony Scaramucci keeps complaining about the interview that cost him his job as White House communications director. And in doing so, he keeps betraying how amateur it was that the White House ever hired him.
When the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza first reported on Scaramucci's vulgar comments about his then-White House colleagues two weeks ago, Scaramucci said he would tone down the language. He then apparently decided to get a little more combative, suggesting the interview wasn't meant to be published and that a fellow Italian American like Lizza should have known he was just B.S.-ing.
And now that Lizza published additional comments from the interview Wednesday, Scaramucci is trying a new tack: Accusing Lizza of recording him without his knowledge by comparing him to a figure from the Bill Clinton sex scandal, Linda Tripp.
Scaramucci first compared Lizza to Tripp in a somewhat cryptic tweet Wednesday night.
Tripp, of course, was the one who secretly recorded Monica Lewinsky's phone calls. She was indicted on a charge of it, though the case was later dropped. Scaramucci later clarified that he was indeed accusing Lizza of a similar crime. “He absolutely taped the call without my permission. #lowlife,” Scaramucci tweeted.
There's one big problem with this complaint: There doesn't appear to be anything wrong with Lizza recording the call.
The District of Columbia has what's known as “one party consent,” which means only one person on a phone call must know that it's being recorded. Tripp got in trouble because she was in Maryland, which is one of relatively few states where you must have all parties consent.
What that means: As long as you're talking to someone else in D.C. or another one party consent state, you don't need to ask permission to record. It's the same, by the way, in Scaramucci's home state of New York. As Lizza had reported, though, Scaramucci was in D.C. having dinner at the White House that night. And Lizza confirms to me that he himself was in D.C., as well. So there was no reason to ask permission to record the call.
Journalists, of course, understand states have different laws about these types of things. When you call a certain state, you know you must ask for consent to record your conversation; in other states, there's no need. It's why prank-call shows are often based in one party consent states, calling other one party consent states. I still have a bookmarked Web page that tells me which states are which.
What's again remarkable about Scaramucci's complaints is that he, the then-head of communications for the White House, was apparently unfamiliar with all of this. Not only did he not seem to grasp the fact that Lizza would publish his juicy comments unless they went off the record or on background (there is no indication Scaramucci asked his comments to Lizza to not be published, and indeed he specified that other parts of the conversation were off the record), but now he's complaining about Lizza surreptitiously doing something that he was allowed to do.
Oh, and by the way, his Linda Tripp metaphor? As plenty of folks pointed out on Twitter on Wednesday night, in that metaphor Scaramucci would be Monica Lewinsky.
Update: Lewinsky's reponse: