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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Resigns. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 21, 2017 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:02] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: -- with broad portfolio, daughter Ivanka Trump represents more of the Manhattan wing and truth be told, some them in the past have been Democrats and they're much more moderate when it comes to Republican policy.

Does it tell us anything beyond the President thinking somebody can communicate better for him or Sean Spicer is not communicating enough? Does this move, the dramatic resignation of the White House press secretary, tell us something about a shift inside this White House toward a different governing philosophy or different management or communications philosophy?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, I think it does signify a shift that Donald Trump, President Trump, is taking all matters into his own hands. And he -- you know, increasingly, everything is being run directly out of the Oval Office. Not the chief of staff's office, just down the hallway, which is, you know, the normal course of business in a White House that the President and the President alone is, you know, taking matters into his own hands here.

And as you all were saying earlier, it is so telling that Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, was not involved in this decision at all. But also, one thing that is through shaking people inside the White House today is this is the second time in three days that someone who is an incredibly loyal soldier, loyal employee, supporter of this President, has been sort of disrespected, Jeff Sessions, of course, the Attorney General earlier this week and now Sean Spicer. And it does send a message and raise a question to people, gosh, if this is going to happen to them, what about me?

So, I do think your point about who sort of leaves with Spicer might be interesting. You know, but the interesting thing here also, Sean Spicer was saying just a month or so ago that he is going to be in charge of picking his own successor. He was accepting the fact that he would not be at the press podium every day. He was accepting the fact that this would not be the traditional press secretary role as others have been in administrations gone by.

But he said that he would be even perhaps the deputy chief of staff of communications. Well, it became clear to him this morning that he would not have that role. And effectively, he was out of work. He would not be the press secretary, he would not be a communications director and he certain wouldn't be picking his successor. Many friends of his, I've been talking with some of them this morning, Republicans in Washington wonder, gosh, why didn't he resign earlier, because he has been sort of disrespected before in their view. But today was obviously the final straw for Sean Spicer.

KING: Right. And to that point, I believe his loyalty to the President who he served and his loyalty to Reince Priebus for whom he's worked for quite a bit of time as a partner and as a deputy was one of the reasons he stayed so long even when -- remember, friends told him for months, you should get out of there. The President is undermining you.

I want to say this. Though on the record, our Dana Bash reports from Reince Priebus, a lot of conversations about his involvement on this, his maybe exclusion from this. He said, I support Anthony 100 percent. We go back a long way and are very good friends. All good here. That from Reince Priebus on Anthony Scaramucci coming in, I assume that is correct. I also assume there's nothing else he can say on this day.

Let's bring Dana Bash back into the conversation. Again, Dana, I sound a bit like a broken record. But the question for me for this White House is what does this mean? In the sense of, if it's Jeff note, you have an all-consumed President who thinks he can be his own chief of staff, his own communications director, his own chief legal adviser, his own chief health care negotiator, his own chief tax reform negotiator, his own chief infrastructure advocate, this President is indefatigable.

He works very hard whether you like him or not. He brings a lot of effort to it. That is impossible. It just cannot be done. Is the President disserving himself? He often thinks people around him are not serving him well. Is he doing a disservice to himself here?

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: He might be. But the way he sees it trying to sort of climb into kind of his perspective on these things just having covered him for a couple of years now is that he is -- feels that he is his best -- at his best when he has people that he trusts and likes and respects around him and closest to him. And Anthony Scaramucci fits that bill as the President would say, plus- plus. And as they said, he's been trying to get Scaramucci into his White House for some time.

I just want to go back to what you just read that Reince Priebus gave me in terms of a statement about this. Again, Priebus told me I support Anthony 100 percent. We go back a long, long way on our very good friends. All good here. That's from Reince.

I can tell you that Sara Murray has done reporting about the fact that that might not be a mutual feeling, John, that Scaramucci has told people that he thinks that Reince is to blame. True or not, I'm just saying that this is Scaramucci's feeling. Reince is to blame for Scaramucci not being in the administration to begin with.

So, this is going to be a relationship that, you know, could be fraught with some tension in a big way. We see now again from this -- on the record statement from Reince that he is trying to smooth that over before Scaramucci officially walks in the door saying, no, no, no, we're fine, everything is fine because technically, Reince is his boss.

[12:35:05] But Reince also knows that the New York wing is growing and expanding and closing in and that Reince, who is, you know, the Washington wing, if you will, and his world is shrinking. The guy who he is incredibly close with, Sean Spicer brought in, they worked hand in glove obviously over at the RNC is gone. So, I think this is a relationship that we should watch.

And to your point about why does it matter? It matters because it puts into question how the President will approach communications and everything else with people who he perceives as his people closer to him.

KING: All right, Dana Bash continuing her reporting on this breaking news. So, I just want to say we're also getting word that the President has been pushing for this for some time from our correspondents and sources telling them, the President has been pushing to make this -- to pull the trigger and make Anthony Scaramucci the communications director for some time.

Obviously, it was some -- you would debate these things in the White House anyway whether how deep of a debate and how big of a divide. Sometimes, the truth and what people say in their public statements is not always factual. That's smart for any organization. I'm not making too much of that. You don't want to air your public laundry.

So, back to this point. Now, Sean Spicer is out. If you are the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, or the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, when you do business with the White House, the people with whom you have relationships whether Sean Spicers and Reince Priebus is the people who have been in Washington for some time --


KING: -- that we have had repeatedly -- Mike Pence.


KING: But we have had repeatedly through this administration, frustrations from key members of Congress, key members of the outside interest groups who say they are told by these officials in the White House, senior officials in the White House, this is the plan. This is the President's decision. This is what we are going to do.

They plan based on those, and then the plans blow up. Either because of something the President says or it just turns out that that establishment faction thought it carried the debate and thought it had the upper hand, but then in the end, it doesn't.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. And that's why the sort of decline of the Washington wing is so important too because it's not only just they -- you know, whether or not they have power in the White House, but that radiates out to larger Washington, to the GOP chairman, across the country, governors, Republican governors. And now, that has been weakened.

And you always hear from Republicans that that was their sort of assurance, right? That was their assurance that Trump administration would be OK because they would have those voices in the White House in the form of Reince Priebus, in the form of Sean Spicer. And now, that appears to be weakening and possibly taken away. We'll see what happens with Reince.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's also an explanation of why you've seen this phenomenon lately which is that you have all of the Republican members of Congress having to deal with the influence of Trump and what Trump says and whether if that's going to affect the base that has to vote for them in two years or four years or whatever. But not really wanting him to get involved in the policy details of crafting health care in the Senate, for example, or anything else going forward that Trump's, you know, tweeting -- you know, impromptu tweeting or otherwise speaking about things being mean for example or any number of other things you could say could undermine their efforts.

So, they know that they have to remain in contact with him and considering what his power is. And yet, they want to kind of keep his arm's length as possible when it comes to the nitty-gritty.

JEFF MASON, PRESIDENT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS ASSOCIATION: And one thing we haven't talked about is how this might affect the rest of the press shop. I mean, there's --


MASON: -- the press team. It's not made up just of Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders. There's an entire group of spokespeople and deputy spokespeople and this is his spokespeople who report to them who are very loyal to Sean, and Sarah is also very loyal to Sean.

So, what that will mean in terms of whether, as John was asking earlier, it's a really strategic shake-up or whether people now just exit because of something like this happening. That's something that will have ramifications further down the line as well.

HENDERSON: Yes. And they still don't have, I guess, the talk that would Sarah Huckabee Sanders replace Sean Spicer and all. She might not even want that job. Are they going to be on camera now because they'd not have been -- they haven't been on camera?

We'll see what happens. I mean, you asked the question of this, is this sort of a reset, is it doubling down, is it a new strategy? I think betting on resets from this White house is seemingly a losing proposition pretty often.

KING: Well, I mean, the good lord is communications director can't help you if the principal brings the New York Times into the Oval Office and trashes his own attorney general, the former FBI director, the number two at the Justice Department and the special counsel investigation.


KING: It's just -- you know, I'm sorry. It's just -- this is -- these are the President's choices. He's perfectly entitled to make these choices about what he says and what he does. But he has been told repeatedly by Sean Spicer, by Reince Priebus saying -- including by Steve Bannon at times, by his outside advisors, by his lawyers, please don't do these things and he continues to do them.

LEMIRE: The President often says and people say around him that he's his own best spokesman. That he is someone who can get -- deliver his message most effectively. We have seen time and time again where he has blown up the best laid plans that the people around him in the west wing who are crafting a strategy -- look at this week, how many times did he shift his stance on health care? What he wanted to see there?

And he believes he is -- you know, he is his best advocate, but yet, he's getting in his own way. I think that he believes that Scaramucci is someone who he knows, who he likes, who he respects as a fighter, can sort of be Trump Jr. on TV.

[12:40:11] HENDERSON: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: There's no doubt that a lot of these wounds are self- inflicted. But the other thing that's true now is that he's got a lot more people around him to point the finger at and blame, whether or not it's their fault. And you had a skeleton crew on the campaign which is what he always goes back to every time he go and get stuff talking about, you know, what he did on the campaign, why nobody thought that it would.

And if he's kind of feeling like, OK, the closing ranks stock around themselves, you know, maybe it won't be so many problems to deal with. He's not very good at taking blame.

KING: There is, of course, a sense of shock. Some will be happy, some will be sad. Some will just be uncertain about the big news today. The White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer submitting his resignation as the President turns to a Wall Street and not a veteran (ph) in Washington, and Anthony Scaramucci to be the new White House Communications Director.

Our White House Correspondent Jim Acosta has some inside information on just why the President wanted this to happen and then why Mr. Spicer decided it was time to go, Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. I talked to a source close to the White House just a few moments ago about all of this, and it sounds like there is a lot of turmoil going on behind the scenes in this press shop, in this communications shop. I am told by a source close to the White House that Trump wanted Scaramucci on television essentially as a surrogate to the White House. He likes the way Scaramucci performs on television and wanted to give him a more formal title.

But according to the source, John, there was simply no understanding by the President that the communications director titles comes with lots of responsibilities, not just going on television, and get this. The president was expecting in all of this, as he was tapping Scaramucci for this job, he was expecting Sean Spicer to stay on as press secretary. And essentially as the communications director while Scaramucci would play the ceremonial role essentially have the title but go on TV as a surrogate for the White House.

I mean, it's very clear, John, that you know, and we've been having these battles in the press briefing room for the last several months, that the President just did not have confidence in Sean Spicer in that sort of TV job as the press secretary. Which you know, John, from so many years covering all of this, the White House press secretary is a TV job. If you can't do this job on television, you are not going to stay in the good graces of this President.

And all we have to do is mention two words, Melissa McCarthy. I mean, Sean Spicer was right over the coals publicly, culturally, as the press secretary, and he was just not living up to Donald Trump TV standards. This is a President who understands television, perhaps better than any president who's ever served in the Oval Office.

And the President simply wanted a better TV performer to sort of be front and center for this White House and it sounded like he had settled on Scaramucci for this job. But according to the source closed to the White House, Sean Spicer was just not going to have that. And there was a feeling that the President did not understand that the job of communications director is more than just being a surrogate on television.

And as you and I know and so many others know here at CNN, sometimes the President judges how his communications is going for the White House based simply on what he sees on the shows. What he sees on the multiple cable news networks who's speaking on behalf of his administration. How they're performing and so on. But what he doesn't understand, if you go back to past administrations, people like Jennifer Palmieri in the Obama administration and so on, the job of communication director is somebody who crafts the message for the White House. And make sure that the White House is getting the press in out there to do what health care event to push the repeal of Obamacare and so on.

And according to the source, the President was just not understanding that there's so many other things that going with the job of communications director. Sean was doing both of those jobs for so many weeks now. And I think because of that dissatisfaction, Sean decided as others have been saying here on CNN, it was time to go. John?

KING: Jim Acosta sharing additional reporting on a big day at the White House. The Press Secretary Sean Spicer is out. He resigns. The President hiring a new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci as Jim as noted presumably to be in a more on-camera presence. That's not traditional of the communication director.

For those of you watching in the United States and around the world, obviously Sean Spicer has become a familiar face back to the campaign, but especially in the Trump White House days. Six-month mark was yesterday.

One of the things we have seen in recent days. Number one, in recent weeks, there are fewer and fewer on-camera briefings at the White House. That part of a communications strategy at the White House. Also part of the President's dissatisfaction with what he views as the quality of those on-camera presentations.

Number two, though, we talked to Sean Spicer, we've seen this from other deputies too, a reluctance to talk about certain issues for fear that the President might then contradict him. Listen to Sean Spicer here when ask a pretty simple question. Does the President believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?


[12:45:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does President Trump believe that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 elections?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think -- I have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing. Obviously, we've been dealing with a lot of other issues today. I'd be glad to touch base.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Generally speaking in this conversation about Russian interference in our elections, there's 16 intelligence agencies that say that they did. The former FBI director said that without a doubt, the Russians --

SPICER: I understand. I've seen the reports.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president share those views?

SPICER: I've not sat down and asked him about the specific reaction to them, so I'd be glad to touch base and get back to you.


KING: Worth noting. That was -- not the first week of the administration. That was last month. That was last month. That was five months into the Trump administration and a White House press secretary afraid to answer a pretty basic question. I have not sat down and talked to him and tells you a couple things.

Number one, he's afraid to speak for the President because he has a experience -- enough experience five months end that the President might tweet or say something completely different within hours. Number two, have not sat down and talked to him about it? What kind of White House press secretary are you? And that's the President's job as much Sean Spicer.

I'm not criticizing Sean there. The President's job is to empower the press secretary so that the press secretary is in the row. So the press secretary knows the answers to those questions that the press secretary can just channel the President. That's your job as the White House press secretary to be able to be the President's voice. What does that tell us? MASON: Well in particularly on really basic questions like that, and I think there was the time when he was also asked what is the President's views on climate change and that wasn't one that he was able to give a pat answer to and that's a problem.

KING: And that's again, you know, Sean Spicer had some issues with reporters in this town. A lot of that is the question to access to the President, the President affording him information.

I just one more I want to get here in this part of the program. If you go back to day one, the first White House briefing, that was when we understood how much things had changed that both in Washington with the new administration and with the relationship between the person behind the podium. Who, yes, is the President's spokesman was also the press secretary for the White House.

You pay, for those who of you watching in the United States, you pay his salary. That's your house. They're supposed to give you answers about the functioning of government. So, there was a controversy about the size. How did President Trump's crowd size match up to President Obama's first inaugural crowd size, and?


SPICER: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.


KING: It's got off to an interesting start.

LEMIRE: Yes. I mean, he came out there and said stuff, everyone in the room knew was not true. He did it in a confrontational tone of voice and he walked away. And I like to point out, even though he's obviously doing the President's bidding there, the President was upset.


LEMIRE: He didn't like how the suit looked on Sean. He didn't like about that the podium look off. Like he still wasn't happy with Sean's performance there. And that goes back this idea of loyalty that even though absolutely Sean has taken a lot of bullets for the President. He has been extremely loyal.

But the perception is that the President still didn't think you never quite forgave him for some of the stuff during the campaign. That he wasn't -- the RNC folks weren't fully onboard. And the time what Jeff point earlier same with Jeff Sessions. That this is someone who was the -- one of the President's earliest backers, the first senator to endorse, and someone who -- once were very close and talked frequently.

But now, because he can't get over the decisions that Sessions made the decision to recuse himself, Trump have been seething with anger about that four weeks, and a couple of bubbled up in anger.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean --

KING: Bubbled up in anger, publicly criticizing his attorney general saying I would not have given him the job if I knew he was going recuse himself. That is stunning unfair to the President. He said twice, unfair to the president. And tells you a lot about the President's mind-set.

And as we focus on Sean Spicer leaving in this dramatic personnel shake-up at the White House, it's important the context of that at the top of the program while we're still confirming this news. Dana Bash is reporting that Robert Mueller of the Special Counsel had sent a letter to the White House saying, preserve all records related to Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with Russians connected to the Kremlin. They promised him dirt on Hillary Clinton.

One of the big questions for the special counsel is their improper contact, coordination, collusion and that request doesn't just cover any records July have from the campaign. But the Trump White House has had to react to this. And so it tells you that Anthony Scaramucci is coming in. Sean Spicer is going out at a time the special counsel's investigation is expanding in its focus and its depth to include Trump financial transactions and the like. So, it's an interesting moment, they telling moment for this White House as this happens.

LEMIRE: He's walking into a firestorm. I mean, this is a very difficult job under this President even under the best of circumstances. But now you're where the probe is growing, that every day it's seemingly a drip, drip, drip of bad news, and bad headlines about Russia that is consuming this west wing.

HENDERSON: Yes, and picked somebody who's been good on TV, right? Not necessarily somebody who's good at the ways of Washington, who sort of knows those inner workings and you wonder, again, if it's going to get worse or if it's going to get better?

[12:50:02] DEMIRJIAN: It's also not just about how the White House communicates through this time, right? But, you know, did Sean Spicer, being honest with how much he didn't know about what Trump was saying or he's actually being obfuscating because now he can might feel little bit freer (ph) about talking to Mueller.

Are there others from the more traditional arm of the GOP who are in the White House who will see this as a reminder and a sign of what we've seen is very often which is that, being loyal to the President does not necessarily buy you loyalty in return. And as the heat is turned up, does it still be who (ph) and to be as well as to the President as they have been if they know other things as we start to focus more about, you know, what the reaction of the people.

KING: And as we continue the conversation, Sean Spicer is resigning. We just showed you some of what (INAUDIBLE) Sean Spicer greatest hits at the White House and there are many that's spurred controversy. The new person coming in, Anthony Scaramucci, again, his title will be communications director. That is traditionally behind the scenes. But the reason we're told by number of sources, you heard Jim Acosta. Now they're saying the President wanted him in the White House is because he likes him on television. And views him as a good spokesman on television.

Listen to Anthony Scaramucci here answering the questions about wouldn't it be better if the President stop distracting from his own message by tweeting so much.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I don't want to overstate the position. What I want to talk about is how we're going to help the President of the United States and the administration expressed themselves in a way, and no offense to you guys in the media by, sort of, if we go directly to the American people so they can see him in the way -- struggle to see him in a way I see him. And the people that loved him and support him inside this building and ultimately in the White House.


KING: Yes, there's some perspective from the new White House communications director, and amen to that. Any president should communicate in the way that President prefers to communicate. There is no question this President has a unique social media reporting and has a following in social media.

However, one of the lessons I will assume that everybody agrees on even deep inside the Trump White House as six months in. Communicating only to that base, they may keep that base. It is remarkable, if you look at the President's bad poll numbers, his base had stayed solid. He's lost independence. Democrats who didn't like him to begin with to become more opposed, more fired up, more energize. But the Trump base large has stayed intact.

The problem is 35%, 36%, 33%, 38%, 40%, whenever it is on any given day, doesn't help you much when it comes to the challenge of governing. Does Anthony Scaramucci have the experience to commit and help this President? Yes, continue to communicate with his people but then do more.

MASON: Well, governing and messaging are very deeply connected. And that's been something that this White House I think wants to improve. And perhaps bringing in Scaramucci will make President Trump more pleased with that messaging piece of it.

But there's still not going to be a press secretary. Hiring him today as a communications director and with Sean's resignation, he's at gipping hole. Sarah Sanders may continue to brief but I understand she doesn't want the job of a press secretary. And so, that's -- in the ramifications of others who may leave and the consequences for them, it's a big, big --

HENDERSON: Mystery, yes, yes.

MASON: -- mystery.

KING: It is a mystery and as we continue to try to unravel some of the mystery and answer the questions that we can answer, CNN's Dana Bash is back with some reporting on this big shakeup. Dana?

BASH: That's right John. I just I got up the phone with a source who's very closed with Anthony Scaramucci who just reminded me about a few thing just to give this context. One is, and we've been touching on this with your panel but I think it's good to underscore that Anthony Scaramucci is the ultimate loyalist for President Trump, who we know really demands and rewards loyalty.

And there was one moment during the campaign when the Access Hollywood tape came out and people -- a lot of people around the President were saying, the then-candidate were saying drop out of the race, including apparently -- quoting apparently Reince Priebus. This source who I'm talking to again who is close to Scaramucci said that Scaramucci was the one saying to the President, don't do it, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight. Don't drop out. And that the President who has a long memory of these things remembers that.

The other thing that the source said is that, the notion that Scaramucci doesn't understand communication strategy which may be true is trying to pick him in this process into the box of old Washington or the non-Trump organization of the White House. Which as we know and as you've been discussing, every thing has blown out about the way White Houses are organized with Donald Trump in the Oval Office. And this is a part of that.

You can't -- it's hard to plan communications strategy with Donald Trump as President because he'll say something or do something that changes it in 15 minutes. And so, that's why the notion of a traditional communication director is different in this case. And then the last thing that this person said is, to get a sense of how important Anthony Scaramucci will be to the President is, let's see where his office is. Real estate is everything in any White House and that is one area where this is similar to others.

KING: That is a key point. Real estate does matter inside the West Wing of the White House. We are told as you look at those pictures of the White House briefing room, there will be an on camera briefing at 2:00 p.m. Stay with CNN. We'll, of course, bring you that live.

The question is, who will be at the podium. Will it be Sarah Huckabee Sanders or will it be Anthony Scaramucci, the new communications director? Will it be somebody else?

[12:55:06] We'll continue to watch that as it plays out. It will be on camera today. It has been off camera many times in recent days.

I want to go back to our White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, this White House is often compared to a Shakespearean drama, other used Game of Thrones, is it House Priebus versus House Bannon? You have some inside information on how this played out internally. The President's decision to bring Anthony Scaramucci in which ultimately lead Sean Spicer to decide it was time to get out. Take us behind the curtain?

ZELENY: Indeed, John. So interesting is we're learning more about this. One, a White House official have explained to me more of the process that went into this and there were some pretty big voices in the West Wing opposed to this decision. One of them is Steve Bannon. Steve, of course, is the Chief Strategist of the White House. He is someone who, you know, is largely responsible or in part responsible for the President rise as populist rise.

But he has not been very visible as of late and he was, I'm told, left -- essentially left out of this decision because the President knew he was opposed to it. But Steve Bannon, I am told, was, you know, has been trying to block Mr. Scaramucci from other jobs. He had, you know, hope that he would not work inside the West Wing here and he was not pleased about this at all.

But I am also told that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, two very important people in this White House, obviously, are supportive of this decision largely because they believe that Anthony Scaramucci has one person whose interests are above all and that's the President. There is no one that questions his loyalty that he does not come into this White House with an agenda. He comes into this White House as a fighter. So, that's one of the reasons that they supported this.

And I'm also told that this on-camera briefing this afternoon inside the White House briefing room which we're looking at right now, John, will be conducted by the Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It's an open question if she'll have an introduction to make of the new communications director but she, I'm told, will be leading this briefing. The first on-camera televised briefing in some time, John.

KING: Jeff Zeleny, tracking the breaking news for us. We'll watch Sarah Huckabee Sanders one hour from now, I think plus a few minutes take to that podium, interesting questions about here own future. She was Sean Spicer's key deputy. Interesting questions about Mr. Scaramucci and his role. Interesting questions. We'll see how much she will say on camera on the record about how all these played out in recent days.

And again, back to the conversation. To Jeff Zeleny's point, this is a fascinating question that comes up time and time again. If you have an audience of one, pleasing the President, the President has to run a country. The President has to make consequential life or death foreign policy decisions.

He has an Afghanistan truth level decision before him right now. His CIA director last night talked how we somehow have to get Kim Jong-un separated from the news in North Korea. There have been tensions with key European allies, questions about what's the next chapter with Vladimir Putin. Health care, tax reform, infrastructure, all in shambles at the moment.

And many would say on all of these issues, could use a little Presidential leadership. Could use a little Presidential head- butting, arm-twisting, deal-making. What was supposed to be the signature of the Trump administration?

If your job at the White House is dependent on one thing, keeping the President happy, can you do the other things you're supposed to do?

MASON: It's hard too. And I think -- I mean, all of those issues that you're raising are topical but you have to remember President Trump's background. In addition to being a real estate mogul, he was a reality television star and he was -- and remains very, very interested and engaged in the T.V. aspect of what he's doing.

KING: Forgive mere for being flippant but keeping up with the President does not pass health care.

DEMIRJIAN: I would add only if he's not paying attention to the nitty grit of what you're doing. His given that as fairly wide range to run the Pentagon without getting involved in the super details and people are fairly happy with how is he doing. He was giving Congress a fairly wide breathes on health care for a time and they were happy with them until they started to get involved again.

So, what he's interested in, if you're interested in what you're doing and you have to please him then you potentially got a problem and making sure that he's pleased. But if he is not interested, then maybe you got a little latitude to operate before he notices what was you're doing.

KING: We about a minute left to the program before we turn it over to Brianna Keilar, so what's the test now? Well, what are we looking for now? Sean Spicer leaves, Anthony Scaramucci comes in, it's a personnel shift. But the question is does it change the policy perspective, the philosophical perspective, the management style, communication style at this White House, what are we looking for?

MALIKA: That's certainly the idea. I don't imagine that Trump is seeing this as a continuation of what we've seen before, his low poll ratings on inability to get something done. So, now Anthony Scaramucci, he is on the hot seat. Do things change? He is going to be very interested on how he appears on TV and what happens with Trump's agenda.

MASON: Does it up -- actually shake things up?

MALIKA: Yes, yes.

LEMIRE: Can they do a better job of controlling the narrative, trying to get ahead of some of the particularly bad Russian news? And wouldn't today be a day for the President to make a surprise conference (ph) on the podium?

KING: It might be a day to do that?

Everybody, thank you for standing in here and for staying (ph) for the whole hour for our breaking news. Our coverage continues next. Big breaking news at the White House, here's Brianna Keilar.