Anthony Scaramucci (Credit: Jdarsie11 via Wikimedia Commons)
Anthony Scaramucci had a rough Monday. After attending the retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly’s swearing-in ceremony, Scaramucci learned in a private meeting with the new White House chief of staff that he was being asked to step down as communications director.
Perhaps he was a dead man walking—from a political perspective—after his profanity-laced remarks to The New Yorker last week. (President Donald Trump thought they were “inappropriate for a person in that position,” a White House spokeswoman told reporters.)
Scaramucci’s cause wasn’t helped after The Washington Post reported that Harvard Law School had incorrectly listed him as dead in the latest alumni directory—published the same week he joined the White House. Harvard made that mistake in spite of hosting Scaramucci for a “fireside chat” as recently as March 2016 and touting his appointment as White House communications director.
‘‘Regrettably, there is an error in the Harvard Law School alumni directory in the listing for Anthony Scaramucci,’’ a spokeswoman told the Post. ‘‘We offer our sincere apologies to Mr. Scaramucci. The error will be corrected in subsequent editions.’’ (Above the Law put it like this in a blog post: “Anthony Scaramucci fired by White House, killed off by Harvard Law School.”
As Scaramucci weighs his next moves—he was selling his SkyBridge Capital hedge fund business to join the Trump White House—he might rely on a network of plugged-in fellow Harvard alumni. Here are some notable 1989 Harvard Law grads who still have jobs:
► Rod Rosenstein, the second-in-charge at the U.S. Justice Department who took some criticism from Trump recently over his position in the DOJ’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president indicated to the New York Times that Rosenstein, the former U.S. attorney in Maryland, couldn’t be trusted because he is “from Baltimore” and “there are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any.” Rosenstein was born and raised in Pennsylvania. (And he lives in Bethesda.)
► Thomas Barnett, partner at Covington & Burling and co-chairman of the antitrust and competition group. Barnett was chief of DOJ’s Antitrust Division from 2005-2008.
► John K. Bush, Trump’s controversial choice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit who was confirmed by the Senate this month.
► Wilhelmina Wright, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota who was confirmed last year.
► Victor Bolden, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut who took the bench in 2014.
► Jim Halpert, a partner at DLA Piper and the inspiration for the eponymous character from “The Office.”
► Christopher Landau, a senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis in the firm’s appellate group.
Scaramucci’s exit comes as a secretive regulatory panel reviews the sale of SkyBridge Capital, a hedge fund he founded in 2005, to a Chinese conglomerate. SkyBridge agreed to the sale in January as Scaramucci prepared to join the Trump administration. In June, he took a position at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a job that was widely viewed as temporary.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, has been reviewing the deal to determine its possible effect on national security. Recently, that committee has been subjecting deals involving Chinese buyers to heightened scrutiny amid escalating tensions between the United States and China, according to several reports.
A small group of lawyers specializes in helping shepherd transactions through the review, including some lawyers at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; Mayer Brown; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Covington & Burling, and lobbying firms including BGR Group and Podesta Group.
In an interview Monday, Mayer Brown partner Tim Keeler described CFIUS as “pretty hawkish with respect to potential Chinese acquisitions for a couple years.”
“It’s sufficiently hawkish that it’s hard to say it’s gotten more hawkish [under the Trump presidency], or at least it’s too early to say that,” Keeler added.
Prior to his departure, Scaramucci was attempting to secure a “certificate of divestiture” from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, a clearance that would allow him to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the sale of SkyBridge.
Scaramucci’s lawyer, Elliot Berke of Washington’s Berke Farah, told USA Today last week that Scaramucci chose to make the sale in January in anticipation of taking a job with the administration, and that Berke was still processing the request for the certificate.
On July 28, several watchdog groups wrote a letter urging the ethics office’s acting director, Dave Apol, to deny the request. Ethics lawyers said it was unlikely Scaramucci would receive any such relief if he didn’t work in the government.
“If he’s out, it would be outrageous for him to get a certificate of divestiture,” said Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush.