Inside Mooch's firing - Axios
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Inside Mooch's firing

Sam Jayne / Axios

Shortly after new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was sworn in this morning, he brought Anthony Scaramucci to his office and told him that he had to go. A source familiar said Kelly needed to assert his influence over the staff, but was gracious in the way he did it.
Mooch was told at 9:30 am this morning. The news didn't leak until early afternoon, when the NYT publicized his departure.
What it means, per an administration source: "This was Trump saying to Kelly... 'You have the ball. You make the staff decisions.' In order to assert his authority over the staff, this had to be Kelly's move.'"

What we're hearing:

  • A second administration source: "Kelly wanting to turn the page. New culture. Mooch no discipline. Thought he'd burned his credibility."
  • An administration official compared Scaramucci to the "Mr. Wolf" of the administration, the character from Pulp Fiction who solves problems. The official noted that three other people are gone as a result of Scaramucci's tenure: Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and Michael Short.
  • Jared and Ivanka brought in Scaramucci as an instrument of destruction against Reince Priebus, according to multiple sources. He was used as a tool to end Priebus' tenure in the corner office. A thirdadministration source said Jared and Ivanka have been fully supportive of the general and will follow his lead. They were irritated by Scaramucci's comments to The New Yorker, but from their perspective he served his primary purpose: destroying Reince.
  • Bannon never stopped agitating to get rid of Mooch. A source close to Bannon says he has a good relationship with Kelly, although we can't confirm whether Bannon had actually spoke to Kelly about getting rid of Scaramucci.
Remember this: Trump's first reaction to the Scaramucci phone call with The New Yorker was amusement. As Trump saw the negative coverage pile up, he started to get angry. By the next day, he was joking about Mooch, saying things like "What am I going to do with this guy? He's crazy."
One other thought: A number of White House officials thought Mooch's comments to The New Yorker were beyond the pale. One official who is largely forgiving of Trump's behavior told me the President's tacit endorsement of Mooch's lewd comments made him question more seriously than ever before whether this was the kind of place he wanted to work.
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Ex-FCC chair: Move against AT&T is "chilling"

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Former FCC chairman Julius Genakowski, now a partner with The Carlyle Group, is troubled by the U.S. Department of Justice's efforts to block AT&T from buying Time Warner. He tells Axios that yesterday's lawsuit creates "unprecedented uncertainty for media companies" and that AT&T may be coerced into a divestiture that would be "unfair and potentially chilling."

Why it matters: Genakowski led the FCC when Comcast acquired NBC Universal, a merger that both the Department of Justice and AT&T are using to justify their current positions.

Genakowski's full statement:

"This lawsuit creates unprecedented uncertainty for media companies trying to scale in this new media world where cord-cutting is pressuring revenue and they're competing now with multiple, much larger tech companies. And it could be a bad sign for the tech companies as well, though it's hard to point to a time where we've had as many strong and innovative companies competing against each other.

Hard to know what's underneath this lawsuit. Could be the belief that DoJ should impose only structural remedies, though hard to unsee the President's comments on the deal; and confusing that the FCC is moving in the opposite direction, removing structural remedies on media ownership.

The story isn't over - I don't see the government winning this lawsuit based on precedent and facts, including Comcast/NBCu, approved with conditions while I chaired the FCC. But even the unlikely can happen in court. A tough question is whether AT&T would consider a divestiture to put the matter behind them. Possible, though unfair and potentially chilling."

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CBS and PBS fire Charlie Rose

Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

Both CBS and PBS fired Charlie Rose today after several women accused him of sexual harassment, per AP. He was quickly suspended by the networks, as well as Bloomberg, following the Washington Post's report. CBS News President David Rhodes said in a statement, "Despite Charlie's important journalistic contribution to our news division, there is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace."

Go deeper: Read about the allegations against Rose and the full list of men in media who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

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Trump pardons turkey: "Drumstick is going to be very happy"

President Trump pardons Drumstick at the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

In keeping with tradition, Donald Trump granted a presidential pardon to a turkey Tuesday, smiling broadly and cracking jokes as he did so. "We have not seen any guests quite like the visitor we have today," said Trump. "Drumstick, I think, is going to be very happy."

Trump joked, "As many as of you know, I have been very active in overturning many actions of my predecessor, but I have been informed by the White House Counsel's Office that Tater and Tot's pardons (made by Obama) cannot under any circumstances be revoked. Tater and Tot, you can rest easy." The Trump family is headed to Mar-a-Lago later this afternoon, where they'll spend Thanksgiving.

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Conyers admits paying settlement, denies allegations

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan. Photo: Charles Dhaparak / AP

Tuesday afternoon, Michigan Rep. John Conyers released a statement again denying the allegations of sexual harassment, but admitting that he paid a settlement made. He clarified, "the resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment," and added that he will fully cooperate with an investigation.

Earlier, the AP reported that Conyers denied the sexual harassment settlements, which BuzzFeed News reported on last night, and that he knew nothing of the claims.

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Pentagon identifies remains recovered in Niger as Sgt. Johnson

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis answers a reporter's question about the ambush of U.S. troops in Niger. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

The Pentagon confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that remains of Sgt. La David T. Johnson were found at the site of the attack in Niger that killed four U.S. service members. The remains were found on November 12, more than a month after the Pentagon initially said Johnson's body was recovered.

Johnson's widow had questioned why she was not allowed to view his body, saying "They won't show me a finger, a hand... I don't know what's in that box. It could be empty for all I know, but I need to see my husband," she said. There are still several unanswered questions surrounding the October ambush, and the Pentagon did not elaborate on how this discovery would affect the ongoing investigation.

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IADB President Luis Moreno on misperceptions of Latin America

Luis Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, discusses the economic and cultural opportunities in Latin America that are lost due to misperceptions.

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President Robert Mugabe officially resigns

Zimbabwe's president has resigned. Photo: AP

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has officially resigned, per AP, after he refused to do so earlier this week.

The impeachment allegations against Mugabe include that he is "of advanced age" and too incapacitated to serve, and that he "allowed his wife to usurp constitutional power," per AP.

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Tobacco companies will start running anti-tobacco ads

After a protracted legal battle, tobacco companies will begin running court-ordered ads next week about the health risks of smoking. The campaign of "corrective statements," mandated by a federal judge in 2006, includes a year of TV spots and roughly four months of full-page ads in 50 newspapers.

Why now? These ads have been the subject of litigation for nearly 20 years. They're the product of a lawsuit the Justice Department filed in 1999, which was decided in 2006, then appealed, before the ads themselves were finalized earlier this year. And though the spots will run widely, both TV and newspaper advertising have lost a lot of their reach since this all began.

The details: The "corrective statements" tobacco companies must make cover five topics:

  • The U.S. death toll of cigarettes and the diseases they cause
  • The addictiveness of nicotine
  • The fact that "light" and "low tar" cigarettes are not safer
  • That cigarettes are designed to be addictive
  • The adverse health effects of secondhand smoke

Beginning next week, print ads will run in the Sunday editions of 50 daily newspapers. The television spots must run for 52 weeks, in prime time, on the major networks.


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FanDuel CEO leaves for e-sports startup

Nigel Eccles. Photo: Brendan Moran / Getty

FanDuel co-founder Nigel Eccles has stepped down as the fantasy sports company's chairman and CEO, in order to launch an e-sports startup.

Backstory: Eccles actually began planning the e-sports venture when FanDuel was in the midst of merging with DraftKings, after which he would have become chairman of the combined entity (with DraftKings boss Jason Robins serving as CEO). But then federal regulators successfully blocked the merger, leaving Eccles in a tricky position.

So tricky, in fact, that he misled his own internal PR rep about the e-sports effort when Axios inquired last month. He also didn't fully inform his full board, which struck the departure agreement late last week.

  • Next: FanDuel's new CEO is Matt King, a former FanDuel CFO who previously was with FanDuel backer KKR. The new chairman is Carl Vogel (ex-Dish Networks exec) while David Nathanson (ex-21st Century Fox) also joins the board as an independent director.
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Students worked illegal overtime to assemble iPhoneX in China

Staff members work on the production line at the Foxconn complex in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, southern China, in 2012. Photo: Kin Cheung / AP

Students have been working illegal overtime hours to assemble the iPhoneX at Apple's main supplier in Asia, the Financial Times reports. Six high school students told the FT they often work 11-hour days in a Foxconn factory, where they were told they must get "work experience" in order to graduate.

Why it matters: Apple dealt with iPhoneX production issues that delayed its launch. Providing flexible student labor is one of the incentives that China's Henan province offers to keep Foxconn there, the FT said. Foxconn said it offers the internship program in cooperation with local governments and schools.

What the companies said: Apple and Foxconn acknowledged they were aware of cases of interns working overtime and were addressing the issue. The companies said the students were compensated and working voluntarily at the factory, but Apple said the students "should not have been allowed to work overtime."