Subdued Scaramucci Testifies of Pressure to Land Banker Top Job

The usually energetic Anthony Scaramucci was uncharacteristically subdued when he took the witness stand in a Chicago banker’s bribery trial and testified how he was pressured to push him for a top job in the Trump administration.

The former White House communications director told jurors he was “overwhelmed” by the volume of job requests he had to sort through as part of the “tiger team” reviewing people for jobs in the pending Trump administration in late 2016.

Subdued Scaramucci Testifies of Pressure to Land Banker Top Job

One, Chicago banker Stephen Calk, was particularly persistent -- calling, texting and emailing -- with the active support of his friend and client Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chief. Scaramucci had a relationship with Manafort from the presidential campaign and he was open to getting Manafort’s friend a coveted Trump Tower interview for a top civilian post in the U.S. Army.

“He was good to me on the campaign,” Scaramucci said of Manafort, addressing jurors in Calk’s criminal trial in Manhattan federal court. “I wanted to be helpful.”

What Scaramucci didn’t know was that Calk’s bank, the Federal Savings Bank, had loaned Manafort $16 million. Calk was eventually interviewed for the post of under secretary of the army, but didn’t get the job. Asked several times whether he would have worked to get Calk an interview with Trump if he’d known about the loans, Scaramucci answered “no.”

Scaramucci, founder and managing partner of Skybridge Capital, is a prosecution witness in Calk’s bribery and conspiracy trial. Prosecutors claim Calk personally green-lighted the loans to Manafort in exchange for help in getting a top job in the Trump administration.

Scaramucci testified for a little more than one hour before the jury was sent home for the day. He spoke about communications he received from both Calk and Manafort in pushing for a job for the banker.

“Hey Anthony, just making sure you have my cell number and contact details,” Calk texted him Dec. 30, 2016. “Will we be speaking today?”

Some of Scaramucci’s testimony was background, to set the scene for his influential position on Trump’s transition team.

Scaramucci told jurors of spending part of election night 2016 sitting on a couch next to Rudolph Giuliani, at a VIP party for top Trump donors in the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, waiting for the results to be announced from Florida.

“The precincts that are about to report are hugely Republican,” said the former New York mayor who would become a key figure in Trump’s two impeachments and his efforts to deny the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

Scaramucci also told jurors of his stint in the Trump White House.

“For a short 11 days I was White House communications director in July of 2017,” he said.

At the end of the day, Scaramucci left court, declining to answer reporters’ questions. He’ll be back on the stand when the trial resumes on Tuesday.

The case is U.S. v. Calk, 19-cr-00366, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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