White House spokesman Sean Spicer resigns

Sean Spencer, ex-White House spokesperson

White House spokesman Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, ending a brief and turbulent tenure that made him a household name, amid further upheaval within President Donald Trump’s inner circle.

A White House official confirmed the departure of Spicer, 45, and said Trump had named Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as his new, top communications official.

While not a surprise, Spicer’s departure was abrupt and reflected heightened turmoil within Trump’s legal and communication teams amid a widening investigation into possible ties between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Kremlin.

Parodied memorably by Melissa McCarthy on the “Saturday Night Live” sketch comedy show for his combative encounters with the White House press corps, Spicer became one of the Trump administration’s most recognized figures.

He invited controversy from the beginning, attacking the news media in his debut appearance as press secretary for reporting what he called inaccurate crowd numbers at Trump’s inauguration.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” he said, an assertion that quickly drew scorn.

While the White House official gave no reason for Spicer’s resignation, the New York Times reported that he had quit over Scaramucci’s appointment. Spicer had been serving as both press secretary and communications director, but with a lower profile recently.

Spicer was targeted by critics for what they said were false or misleading statements. In recent weeks, he has less frequently taken the lectern in the White House press room.

From the start, Spicer and other Trump aides sought to shake up the status quo in White House dealings with the media, including cutting back daily televised news briefings and replacing them with audio briefings only.

When Trump tapped Spicer for the job of press secretary, he was spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

Separately, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the possible Trump-Russia ties, has asked White House officials to preserve any records of a meeting last year between the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer, a source with knowledge of the request said on Friday.

The White House said deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders will give an on-camera briefing on Friday afternoon.

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