Nine hours after former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman shocked the political world with an audiotape of her own firing made in the ultra-secure Situation Room, the Trump administration fired back at the former reality TV star.
‘The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room, shows a blatant disregard for our national security – and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee,’ Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a dinnertime statement.
Manigault Newman gave the audio to NBC News, which broadcast it during its ‘Meet the Press’ interview with the explosive onetime Trump booster. It includes a voice identified as White House Chief of Staff John Kelly telling her that ‘serious integrity violations’ had left her without a job.
Kelly tells her in the audio that the issues surrounded money and the improper use of government vehicles. He can be heard denying a request for her to speak with president about her dismissal, which he said was non-negotiable.
Omarosa Manigault Newman secretly taped White House Chief of Staff firing her last December, and she recording in the ultra-secure Situation Room
Manigault Newman gave NBC News the recording on Sunday, opening her up to accusations of a national security breach
On the audio recording, Kelly is heard telling Omarosa that ‘serious integrity violations’ had left her without a job
A conference room is shown inside the Situation Room complex at the White House – a signal-hardened place where recording devices and cameras are strictly prohibited
Manigault Newman, nationally known by her first name ‘Omarosa’ since her days as a back-stabbing contestant on ‘The Apprentice,’ claimed Sunday while promoting her forthcoming tell-all book that she had recorded Kelly threatening her reputation while they spoke in the Situation Room.
‘I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure we can all be – you know, you can look at, look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation,’ the retired general said. ‘And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future, relative to your reputation.’
The fired West Wing official said she viewed the comment as a ‘threat’ and defended her decision to covertly make recordings as a form of self-preservation.
‘If I didn’t have these recordings, no one in America would believe me,’ she said Sunday
The Situation Room is known as a SCIF – a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. Such rooms are hardened against electronic eavesdropping so classified information can be securely discussed inside.
Standard protocol prohibits cameras and recording devices. Lockers or cubbies are typically situated outside SCIFs to hold cellphones while their owners are inside. The Situation Room is no exception.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel raised the possibility of criminal prosecution for Omarosa if she broke federal law by making her secret recording
Omarosa’s admission, a highly unusual one, immediately drew fire from allies of the president.
‘Who in their right mind thinks it’s appropriate to secretly record the White House chief of staff in the Situation Room?’ Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel tweeted.
‘Secretly recording conversations in the Situation Room isn’t just wildly inappropriate, it’s a threat to our national security,’ McDaniel added. ‘If she broke federal law, she should be prosecuted.’
The RNC’s own Twitter account carped, ‘Omarosa will clearly say anything to make a buck. It’s obvious that no one should believe a word she says.’
National security lawyer Bradley Moss told The Daily Beast on Sunday that ‘[p]rotocol absolutely dictates you place that phone into the lockers right outside the Situation Room. I’ve put my cell phones in similar lockers at government facilities. It’s non-negotiable.’
He said while White House visitors are screened, in-house staff operate on an honor system, which Omarosa ‘clearly violated … and it is clear she deliberately meant to do so.’
LISTEN – Audio of John Kelly firing Omarosa in the situation room over her ‘integrity issues’
GEN. JOHN KELLY: Hi.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Hi there, how are you?
JOHN KELLY: Who are you?
FEMALE VOICE: Hi.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN: My assistant.
JOHN KELLY: Could you leave us alone?
FEMALE VOICE: Sure.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Hi.
JOHN KELLY: I’m only going to stay for a couple of minutes. These are lawyers. We’re going to talk to you about leaving the White House. It’s come to my attention, over the last few months, that there’s been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues related to you and use of government vehicles and some other issues. And they’ll, they’ll, they’ll walk you through the legal aspects of this. But there is some, from my view, there’s some money issues and other things, but from my view, the integrity issues are very serious. I’m stuck with my past experience and that is, when we hold people accountable in the military, I would, I compare what I see here at the White House and other issues that I’ve had to deal with and say what would I do to this, in this case if I was in the Pentagon dealing with a Marine or a soldier or something like that? And the issue that you may or may not have a full appreciation for, but I think you do, this would be a pretty high level of accountability, meaning a court-martial. We’re not suggesting any legal action here.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN: That I — that I did?
JOHN KELLY: Just stay with me, just stay with me. Yep. That it would be a a pretty serious offense. So with that I’m just going to ask you — these gentlemen will explain it. We’ll bring a personnel person in after after they talk to you. But just to understand that I’d like to see this be a a friendly departure. There are pretty significant legal issues that we hope don’t develop into something that, that’ll make it ugly for you. But I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure we can all be, you know, you can look at, look at your time here in, in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation. But it’s very, very important I think that you understand that there are some serious legal issues that have been violated. And you’re, you’re open to some legal action that we hope, I think, we can control, right? So with that, if you would stay here with these gentlemen they’ll lay this thing out –
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Can I ask you a couple questions? Does the president — is the president aware of what’s going on?
JOHN KELLY: Don’t do — let’s not go down the road. This is a non-negotiable discussion.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN: I don’t want to negotiate. I just, I’ve never talked — had a chance to talk to you General Kelly so if this is my departure I’d like to have at least an opportunity –
JOHN KELLY: No.
OMAROSA: –to understand.
JOHN KELLY: We can, we can talk another time. This has to do with some pretty serious violat — integrity violations. So I’ll let it go at that. So the the staff and everyone on the staff works for me, not the president. And so after your departure I’ll inform him if he gets interested on, on where you may be. So with that I’ll let you go and if gentlemen you could take it.
MALE VOICE: Thanks. Yep. I’m really sorry we’re here.
Omarosa appears in an exclusive interview on ‘Meet the Press’ in Washington, D.C., Sunday
President Trump branded Manigault Newman, a former communications aide, a ‘lowlife’ on Saturday. On Friday Sanders said the memoir was ‘riddled’ with lies.
Much of the controversy surrounding the book, titled ‘Unhinged,’ has centered on her claim that she has heard audio of the president referring to African-Americans with the ‘n-word.’
She writes only that several people had told her of the existence of the tape, purportedly made through an open mic during an ‘Apprentice’ taping.
Two people to whom she has attributed that information, pollster Frank Luntz and Trump campaign aide Katrina Pierson, have both publicly denied it.
Beginning on Friday Manigault Newman insisted she had heard the outtake herself, but not until after her book was finished.
‘It was confirmed what I feared the most: that Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities, but when he talks that way, the way he did on his tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist,’ she said Sunday on NBC.
She said she felt used by Trump, who a year ago was under siege for his comments about a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that ended with the death of a counter-protester.
Omarosa expressed regret for aiding and abetting Trump, saying, ‘I was complicit with this White House in deceiving this nation.’
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway on Sunday rebutted Manigault Newman’s claim that Trump used racially charged language in the White House.
‘He never said that to us in the White House, and I certainly have never heard it. But why didn’t she tell us at the time?’ Conway asked on ABC. ‘She said, “No, he’s not a racist.” She said, “I would not be there, and I wouldn’t be there, none of us would be there if that were true”.’
As the drama intensified Sunday, current and former White House officials flooded the airwaves to defend themselves and the president against the attacks coming from Trumpworld’s newest apostate.
Omarosa Manigault Newman admitted Sunday that she was fired from the White House and did not resign as she claimed in previous interviews. She’s seen here with her former boss, the president, in late 2015
Omarosa contradicted herself Friday in an NPR interview, claiming that she had personally heard the rumored recording of Trump using the racial slur; in the book, she writes that other people hed merely told her about the audio
Famed pollster Frank Luntz clobbered Omarosa for printing, without contacting him, an anonymous source’s claim that he had once heard Donald Trump use the ‘n-word’
Noted pollster Frank Luntz on Friday debunked a passage of the book where Omarosa claims she was told he had personally heard the rumored Trump ‘n-word’ audio.
‘I’m in @Omarosa’s book on page 149. She claims to have heard from someone who heard from me that I heard Trump use the N-word,’ Luntz wrote. ‘Not only is this flat-out false (I’ve never heard such a thing), but Omarosa didn’t even make an effort to call or email me to verify. Very shoddy work.’
Luntz continued: ‘It seems like certain book publishers these days care more about getting a release out than getting the facts down. This is why people don’t trust these “exposés,” which is especially bad for authors who actually are good and reliable.’
Manigault Newman said Sunday that aside from the N-word tape, she had never heard Trump use a racial slur.
‘You know, I was in his presence when he said inappropriate things but he has never said the n-word in my presence. Ever,’ she acknowledged.
She told Todd that Trump has ‘probably’ uttered the slur about her, too, ‘because Donald Trump talks about everyone behind their back.’
‘I am pretty certain that he’s probably said some very derogatory things about me,’ she asserted. ‘In fact, yesterday, on this moment before Charlottesville, the anniversary of Charlottesville, instead of talking about how to unify the nation, he actually insulted me by calling me a “lowlife.”
Omarosa charged: ‘That is a man who is inclined to start racially charged engagement, and use race to kind of stir up his base.’
Conway told ABC on Sunday that she has ‘never a single time’ hear the president use a racial slur.
‘I also never heard Omarosa complain that he had done that. And so the only thing that’s changed is that she’s now selling books,’ the ex-campaign manager to the president said.
In a vicious assault on her former White House colleague, Conway compared Manigault Newman to Judas Iscariot, saying, ‘I understand whether it’s 30 pieces of silver or a seven-figure book advance, people do change their loyalties and change their mind. But I would refer you to Omarosa’s own comments. Very glowing appraisal of this president’s work and this president’s work with respect to the African American community.’
Mangiault-Newman led the president’s African-American outreach in 2016.
She claimed in a memorable video that fall that when if the former ‘Apprentice’ host won the the White House, ‘Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.’
After her dismissal, Manigault Newman had a change of heart, writing in her book that she witnessed him slip into a serious ‘mental decline’ that was not apparent to people around him who had not known him for as long as she had.
Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations. It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration.
– White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
They’d had a working relationship since Omarosa’s appearance on the first season of ‘The Apprentice,’ dating back more than a decade to 2003.
In her ‘Meet the Press’ interview, Omarosa doubled down on the charge and lobbed grenades at former colleagues like ex-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
She alleged that the president’s cronies ‘absolutely’ bought the ex-White House aide’s silence and tried to enter into a similar deal with her.
Spicer told DailyMail.com that he did not receive a paycheck from the Trump-supported America First PAC until June of this year, roughly 10 months after the conclusion of his White House tenure.
The former White House aide who’s on a promotion tour now for his own book detailing his time working with Trump, ‘The Briefing,’ said he signed a contract for the manuscript in December.
America First said later in a tweet: ‘Her compulsive lies are sick&sad! It’s clear that what she was fired for in the first place(lack of integrity)is still running wild in her world of make-believe!’
Pierson also denied Manigualt-Newman’s allegations from her, saying in a statement to DailyMail.com that she has ‘never heard President Trump ever use the derogatory language that Omarosa claims’ and that she ‘never confirmed the existence of an alleged tape from “The Apprentice” to her as she said today.’
‘That’s a complete fabrication by Omarosa,’ she said in the comment that said Trump in her experience has always been respectful to persons of color. ‘I feel pity for Omarosa as she embarrasses herself by creating salacious lies and distortions just to try to be relevant and enrich herself by selling books at the expense of the truth. “Unhinged,” indeed.’
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders took time away from vacation on Friday to say the book is ‘riddled with lies’ and Omarosa is ‘disgruntled’
President Trump refrained from tweeting about his disloyal former aide on Sunday, with nothing on his schedule as a vacation at Bedminster, New Jersey, estate came to a close.
The White House fired a missile in Manigault Newman’s direction on Friday following reporters that the book would accuse the president of uttering ‘several’ racial slurs.
‘Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations,’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement to reporters, throwing an unmistakably sharp elbow.
‘It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration.’
Omarosa, who launched her famous-for-being-famous career on the strength of her pugnacious persona on ‘The Apprentice,’ became an outspoken Trump critic only after she left her spokeswoman job at the White House’s Office of Public Liaison and began to shop for a book deal.
Because she has told contradictory stories about her knowledge of Trump’s purported racial slurs, it’s unclear whether she has knowledge of them at all.
She also writes that she personally witnessed the president using a pair of racial insults against senior aide Kellyanne Conway’s half-Filipino husband George.
‘Would you look at this George Conway article?’ she quotes Trump as saying, according to The Guardian. ‘F***ing FLIP! Disloyal! F***ing Goo-goo.’
George Conway dismissed the story as ‘absurd.’
Omarosa made more pedestrian recordings of Trump on her own while she worked in the West Wing, but insists the white-whale tape is out there somewhere
Omarosa is launching a book tour, saying that she heard Trump denigrate Kellyanne Conway’s half-Filipino husband (back row, right) with a racial slur
Mr. Conway immediately dismissed the racial-slur story as ‘not credible’ and ‘absurd’ on Thursday, noting that Omarosa was fired in December 2017, long before he became known as a persistent Trump critic
‘The allegation is not credible, and indeed is ridiculous, particularly in light of the timing of her departure from the White House—December 12, 2017. It’s absurd all around,’ he tweeted.
It wasn’t until months later that he emerged as a steadfast and reliable Trump critic on Twitter despite his wife’s loyalty and devotion to the president.
It’s unclear what if anything might have set Trump off, but one of Mr. Conway’s earlier rhetorical slaps may provide a suggestion.
In a June 2017 tweet the Yale Law School grad berated the president for defending his travel ban, and said it would make it harder for the Office of Solicitor General to find 5 Supreme Court justices to green-light it.
‘These tweets may make some ppl feel better,’ he wrote, ‘but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad.’
A year later the high court did side with Trump on the divisive issue, by a 5-4 margin.
Omarosa’s spicy memoir includes other less incendiary but equally too-good-to-check anecdotes.
One is the charge that a tanning bed occupies space in the presidential residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and that President Trump caused a stink when he demanded one.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Omarosa wrote about how Trump fought over a tanning appliance with Angella Reid, then the White House’s ‘chief usher’ – a title held by the chief of the household staff.
Reid was dismissed in early May 2017, narrowing the timeframe in which the story could have unfolded.
NOPE: White House officials are disputing Omarosa’s claim that the president fought with White House ushers to install a tanning bed in the presidential residence
Omarosa claims Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, offered her a $15,000 per month campaign job after she left the White House, a position that she says came with an onerous nondisclosure agreement
But a former White House official employed in the West Wing during those months told DailyMail.com on Friday that ‘it never happened.’
‘Are you kidding me?’ asked one former aide who worked alongside Omarosa. ‘If that were true, he would have tweeted about it by now and challenged Putin to get one.’
The source, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, called the outspoken former colleague ‘Ponderosa,’ a derisive combination of her name and the word ‘ponderous.’
Separately, a current senior White House official told a ‘New York’ magazine reporter that ‘there is no tanning bed in there,’ and there has ‘never been any request’ for one.
Among the odder claims in ‘Unhinged’ is Omarosa’s insistence that presidential daughter-in-law Lara Trump offered her a $15,000-per-month campaign job when she left the White House, along with an agreement not to talk publicly about Trump.
Omarosa describes that as a bid to silence her, but presidential campaign jobs typically come with such strings attached.
And she says she once saw the president chewing up a piece of paper after a meeting with lawyer Michael Cohen.
George Conway may have set Trump off with tweets like this on in June 2017, in which he berated the president for defending his travel ban and said it would make it harder for the Office of Solicitor General to find 5 Supreme Court justices to green-light it
The Conways are pictured during an October 30, 2017 Halloween event at the White House
‘I saw him put a note in his mouth. Since Trump was ever the germaphobe, I was shocked he appeared to be chewing and swallowing the paper. It must have been something very, very sensitive,’ she writes in an excert given to The Washington Post.
As with many of her more pointed stories, White House aides flatly dnied it to the Post.
Omarosa’s unceremonious December 2017 firing will be a telling asterisk as she launches a media tour this weekend with an interview on the set of ‘Meet the Press.’
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly threw her overboard after he learned she was using the White House’s car service – meant for the use of outside VIP guests – as a personal pick-up and drop-off chauffeur for her daily commute.
She claims in her book that she was shown the door because senior aides believed she was close to getting her hands on an ‘n-word’ recording – even though her employment status would be of little consequence if she had found one.
According to Omarosa, she was contacted during the 2016 campaign by a source who claimed to have the recording.
‘By that point, three sources in three separate conversations had described the contents of this tape,’ she writes. ‘They all told me that President Trump hadn’t just dropped a single N-word bomb. He’d said it multiple times throughout the show’s taping during off-camera outtakes, particularly during the first season of The Apprentice.’
In the book Omarosa describes how she and Ivanka Trump tried to rid the White House of leakers
Trump has been flattering of the former ‘Apprentice’ star in the past, while acknowledging her tough reputation
She herself appeared in that season but doesn’t claim to have heard it.
‘I need to hear it for myself,’ Trump aide Hope Hicks said when she raised the issue, in Omarosa’s telling, asking her over and over for progress updates. The white-whale recording never materialized.
‘I was told exactly what Donald Trump said – yes, the N-word and others in a classic Trump-goes-nuclear rant – and when he’s said them. During production he was miked, and there is definitely an audio track,’ she writes now.
Rumors of a buried Trump ‘n-word’ recording predate his 2015 entry into presidential politics, and his case won’t be helped by the infamous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape of him bragging that famous men like him can easily take sexual liberties with unwilling women.
Omarosa’s personal smartphone recordings of Trump feature ordinary chatter, suggesting that she didn’t witness him saying anything at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that was explosive or damning enough to make news.
But the tell-all book will infuriate the president, who reacted with anger when it was revealed his former personal attorney Michael Cohen recorded some of their conversations.
Omarosa describes an attempt by herself and Ivanka Trump to rid the White House of leakers. Short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci led the effort.
‘Along with his comms directorship, Scaramucci had a secondary job. He was apparently the hired hit man,’ Manigault writes, according to the Daily Beast.
‘Very low-key, Ivanka [Trump] went around to the original Trumpers, the loyal soldiers, and asked the team to compile a list of suspected leakers. I’d already said my piece about [deputy chief of staff] Katie Walsh directly to Donald, and she’d been let go. But Ivanka wanted a new list and, once she had it, she would give it to Scaramucci, so he could fire them all. The final list that was texted to me on July 22 had ten names on it.’
She lists those staff as: Vanessa Morrone, Lindsay Walters, Janet Montesi, Raj Shah, Kelly Sadler, Lara Barger, Ory Rinat, Kate Karnes, Michael Short, and Jessica Ditto.
A White House official with knowledge of situation alleged in comments to DailyMail.com that since Scaramucci needed to come up with a list of names, he arbitrarily chose staffers – no matter their seniority or access – who had worked at the Republican National Committee.
Not all of them were RNC alumni, however, including Ditto.
Scaramucci was fired after 11 days.
Trump has been flattering of Omarosa in the past, while acknowledging her tough reputation.
‘Honest Omarosa: she won’t backstab-she’ll come at you from the front,’ he tweeted on March 10, 2013.
And he wrote a few days earlier on March 3: ‘I’ll always like @Omarosa because she constantly defends me.’
Finally, on March 3 he wrote: ‘Are people really afraid of @Omarosa. Would you be?’
In an exclusive excerpt obtained by DailyMail.com, Omarosa, 44, tells of the dread she felt while watching Trump’s May 2017 interview with Lester Holt.
‘While watching the interview I realized that something real and serious was going on in Donald’s brain. His mental decline could not be denied,’ she writes.
‘For the Lester Holt interview, I watched it on a small TV in the upper press room (the lower press room was built on top of the old swimming pool and turned into the briefing room) by the press secretary’s office,’ she writes.
‘Throughout this erratic and contradictory interview, I kept thinking, ‘Oh no! Oh no! This is bad!
‘Donald rambled. He spoke gibberish. He contradicted himself from one sentence to the next.’