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AP

Michael Short, senior assistant White House press secretary, found out yesterday from Politico that he was going to be fired by the highly empowered incoming White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.

It's the first of what may be many sackings, with Mooch telling reporters that he was prepared to "fire everybody" to stop leaks.

The White House was in shock — many staffers on edge, with an atmosphere of extreme fear and concern. Maggie Haberman tweeted: "Michael Short is the first show trial in the Scaramucci era."

  • It wasn't supposed to happen that way. Mooch wanted to send a signal, but not in such a brutal way.
  • It was a miscommunication that went on for hours. Politico's story posted at 9:15 a.m. A little after noon, having heard from no one inside, Short resigned before he could be fired.
  • After finally hearing from Mooch around 6 p.m., Short texted Axios' Jonathan Swan: "He's being supportive of me. Feels bad about the situation but the seed had been planted months prior." (Late in the campaign, Short, who was frustrated by what he viewed as a dysfunctional and internally divided campaign, decided to resume working from the RNC full time, though he continued to run rapid response for the remaining debates and coordinate with the campaign through Election Day. Some of the Trump originals viewed the departure from New York as a sign of disloyalty, and the story was ultimately told to President Trump, who ordered Short be fired.)
  • Short was among the White House's Republican National Committee alumni. So the move undercut Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, leaving him with one fewer loyalists.
  • TIME's Zeke Miller tweeted: "Scaramucci sounding much more like a Chief of Staff than a Comms Director at the moment."
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Go deeper

100+ corporate executives consider freezing donations over laws curbing voting access

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

More than 100 corporate executives and leaders gathered on a zoom call Saturday to discuss ways to combat controversial voting bills that would restrict voting access that are being considered across the country, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: American corporations flexed their advocacy muscles earlier this month when more than 100 companies signaled their opposition to Georgia's new voting law, inciting the wrath of GOP leaders, including former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.