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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Incoming White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has told associates he plans to dramatically pare back his interactions with journalists following his jaw-dropping comments to The New Yorker, sources with direct knowledge tell Axios.

Why it matters: Scaramucci's aggressive entrance rattled West Wing staffers, and, like any aide representing President Trump on TV, he runs the risk of upstaging POTUS, who insists on being the star of his own show.

"Mooch" was scheduled to be a headliner at this weekend's Politicon conference in Pasadena, Calif., but he's pulled out. A source with direct knowledge says he withdrew before the Lizza incident — because of the new job, not the incident.

To be clear: We don't expect that Mooch, who has been highly accessible to the press during his Wall Street career, will disappear from your screens.

He'll keep doing TV when the President wants him to, and there's no way he'll stop engaging with all reporters; but he's told associates he'll be limiting his one-on-one interactions after feeling "burned." Scaramucci has told friends he was under the impression the conversation wouldn't be made public, though Lizza says Scaramucci never stipulated at the beginning of the conversation that he wanted it to be off the record. And Scaramucci has told associates he may have botched "the protocol" and tweeted on Thursday night: "I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again."

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Go deeper

13 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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