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

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

Anthony Scaramucci Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Anthony Scaramucci and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (left) hold a press conference

The high-powered post has been empty since the previous communications director Mike Dubke resigned in May.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was named as the new White House press secretary at a press conference this afternoon.

The White House official gave no reason for Mr Spicer's resignation. The New York Times reported he quit over Mr Scaramucci's appointment. Mr Spicer had been serving as press secretary and communications director.

While not a surprise, Mr Spicer's departure was abrupt and reflected the turmoil in Mr Trump's legal and media teams amid a widening investigation of possible ties between Mr Trump's campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Parodied memorably by actress Melissa McCarthy on the Saturday Night Live television comedy show for his combative encounters with the White House press corps, Mr Spicer became one of the Trump administration's most recognised figures.

From the beginning, he invited controversy, attacking the 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.

Mr Spicer and other Trump aides shook up White House dealings with the media, including cutting back daily televised news briefings and replacing them with audio briefings only.