White House spokesman Sean Spicer out in shake-up

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Washing­ton, US - White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer abruptly re­signed on Fri­day in protest at a ma­jor shake-up of Don­ald Trump’s scan­dal-tainted ad­min­is­tra­tion, as pres­sure mounted from a broad­en­ing investigation into the Trump cam­paign’s ties to Rus­sia.

Spicer quit af­ter Trump named An­thony Scara­mucci, a Wall Street fi­nancier and one­time critic, as the new White House communications di­rec­tor - a role Spicer had hoped to play.

‘It’s been an honor & a priv­i­lege to serve @POTUS @re­alDon­aldTrump & this amaz­ing coun­try. I will con­tinue my ser­vice through Au­gust’, Spicer tweeted.

In a writ­ten state­ment, Trump said he was ‘grate­ful’ for Spicer’s work and praised his ‘great tele­vi­sion rat­ings’ - a ref­er­ence to Spicer’s keenly watched, com­bat­ive and of­ten-satirised news brief­ings.

‘Spicer is a won­der­ful per­son who took tremen­dous abuse from the Fake News Me­dia - but his fu­ture is bright!’ Trump tweeted.

Spicer was re­placed by deputy press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders.

In an in­ter­view with Fox News, Spicer said he stepped aside to ‘ not have too many cooks in the kitchen’ to con­vey Trump’s mes­sage.

Spicer’s res­ig­na­tion marked an es­ca­la­tion of ten­sions within an ad­min­is­tra­tion that has seen its leg­isla­tive agenda fal­ter at the same time it has been buf­feted by an investigation into al­leged col­lu­sion with Rus­sia.

The Washing­ton Post re­ported late Fri­day that At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, con­trary to his prior tes­ti­mony, dis­cussed cam­paign-re­lated and pol­icy mat­ters with Rus­sia’s Am­bas­sador to Washing­ton, cit­ing in­tel­li­gence in­ter­cepts.

The re­port will heap pres­sure on Ses­sions, who al­ready was on the re­ceiv­ing end of a tongue­lash­ing by Trump over the Rus­sia probe. The Pres­i­dent sug­gested Ses­sions had be­trayed him in step­ping away from the investigation.

And in an­other blow, Mark Co­rallo - who was co­or­di­nat­ing the Trump le­gal team’s pub­lic re­sponse to the Rus­sia cri­sis - told AFP that he, too, had stepped down.

Af­ter months of de­nials, the White House was re­cently rocked by emails show­ing Don­ald Trump’s el­dest son and two top aides met with a Rus­sian lawyer in the be­lief they would get dirt on the Repub­li­can bil­lion­aire’s 2016 elec­tion ri­val, Hil­lary Clin­ton.

In re­sponse, Trump aides have floated the idea of pre­emp­tive pres­i­den­tial par­dons and Trump him­self has warned in­ves­ti­ga­tors not to look into his fam­ily fi­nances.

Spicer’s de­ci­sion ap­pears to have hap­pened quickly, with nei­ther he nor San­ders giv­ing any in- di­ca­tion of changes afoot when they had drinks with a group of jour­nal­ists on Thurs­day evening.

Spicer had ‘no re­grets’ on his way out the door, he said on Fox late on Fri­day.

Yet he an­grily lashed out at US me­dia, claim­ing they were ‘ob­sessed’ with Rus­sia af­ter US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies said that Moscow was in­volved in med­dling with the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion Trump won.

“I was in­creas­ingly dis­ap­pointed in how so many mem­bers of the mem­bers here in the me­dia do their job, or rather, don’t do their job. The bias which they come from it at,” Spicer said. And it is no ex­cep­tion, he stressed.


Out­go­ing White House Press Sec­re­tary Sean Spicer at the West Wing of the White House in Washing­ton, DC, on Fri­day

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