Annoyed CNN reporter: Sean Spicer is basically useless now and these off-camera press briefings are a disgrace; Update: Spicer "promoted"?

No photos, audio, or video allowed at today’s daily briefing, the White House warned reporters beforehand. Jim Acosta didn’t take it well.

Is this a terrible “new normal,” Acosta wonders? Spicer has been useless lately, reluctant to speak for Trump to a comical degree despite his job description. Maybe the briefings are going to be vacuous no-comment off-camera nothingburgers from now until 2020.

…Or maybe we’re in a transitional phase:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will take on a new, elevated role in the Trump administration, White House officials said Monday…

Spicer will likely no longer handle day-to-day press duties, including daily media briefings, and will instead oversee communications for the entire administration. His role would be similar to a deputy chief of staff and will go into effect in the near future, the White House indicated.

Rumors that Spicer would be phased out of the daily briefing have been circulating for more than a month, since before Trump’s Middle East trip. The word at the time was that, after the trip, Spicer would be moved into a less visible role on the communications team, with Sarah Huckabee Sanders and possibly a new hire handling more of the on-camera stuff. Spicer’s had to live with that humiliation for weeks, which probably explains his uselessness in the briefings since. He’s been phoning it in because he has no future in the job anymore, and even if he did, Trump seems to be annoyed with everything he does.

So who’s replacing Spicer? Hmmm:

Last week, Spicer and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus reached out to Fox News personality Laura Ingraham about the role of press secretary and Daily Mail editor David Martosko about the role of communications director, according to a White House official.

Spicer and Priebus have had preliminary discussions with Ingraham and interviewed Martosko, according to the White House official. Neither responded to a request for comment.

Spicer could have been fired instead of being kicked upstairs but the prospect of a tell-all would be one more needless headache for a president who doesn’t need more headaches. Besides, with Spicer still on the payroll, the president can assert executive privilege over him in case Bob Mueller calls him to testify about what he may have overheard regarding Russia, Comey, and obstruction of justice. Spicer might not like his job but he may be in the unusual position of being able to stay on at the White House for as long as he likes.