A day after President Donald Trump called former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman a “lowlife” in response to an upcoming memoir about her time as a member of the Trump administration, the former reality TV star raised concerns about security in the executive mansion after she revealed she had recorded Chief of Staff John Kelly as he dismissed her from her job.
The recording, which was aired on NBC's “Meet the Press,” was allegedly made inside the Situation Room, which is a high-tech conference room meant for the president to hold meetings on sensitive topics.
Newman, who was fired abruptly last year, claimed the recorded made it “pretty clear” she was threatened to leave the White House.
“We want to talk to you about leaving the White House,” Kelly could be heard telling Omarosa in the clip aired on NBC. “I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be, you know, we can look at your time here 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.”
Newman said Kelly referring to her reputation was an “obvious threat.”
“That’s downright criminal,” she told host Chuck Todd during the interview.
The former “The Apprentice” contestant also said she had no regrets about recording the incident, even though it has raised widespread security concerns.
“I protected myself because this is a White House where everybody lies,” Newman added. “The president lies to the American people. Sarah Huckabee stands in front of the country and lies every single day. You have to have your own back because otherwise you’ll look back and you’ll see 17 knives in your back.”
EXCLUSIVE: @OMAROSA reveals the Non-disclosure agreement that the Trump 2020 campaign offered her after she left the White House. #MTP@chucktodd: “You believe all these people that… left the West Wing and the campaign are being bought off?”@OMAROSA “Absolutely” pic.twitter.com/PWO4VUALeY— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 12, 2018
In another portion of the recording, Kelly said, “It's come to my attention over the last few months that there's been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues.”
When Newman asked him if the president was “aware of what's going on,” the chief of staff interjected and said, “This is a non-negotiable discussion.”
“I don't want to negotiate," she responded. "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 to understand.”
This tape came a week after it was revealed the former White House aide recorded everyday conversations at the White House.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Former President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco was quick to point out on Twitter, cell phones are “totally prohibited” in the situation room.
NO PROPER EMPLOYEE OF THE WH BRINGS PHONES INTO THE SITROOM. It’s totally prohibited. https://t.co/Sks5aYNXtB— alyssa mastromonaco (@AlyssaMastro44) August 12, 2018
It is unclear if Newman used her cell phone or a different device to allegedly record the conservations.
“Protocol absolutely dictates you place that phone into the lockers right outside the Situation Room,” National security lawyer Bradley Moss told The Daily Beast. “I’ve put my cell phones in similar lockers at government facilities. It’s non-negotiable. Now, the difference between Omarosa and me is that I am an outsider entering the facility, so I get screened upon entry. Existing government employees work on an honor code; they aren’t checked upon entry. Omarosa clearly violated that honor code, and it is clear she deliberately meant to do so.”
Needless to say, it’s an issue of grave importance.
We (rightly) talk a lot about Trump's erosion of important norms. Omarosa held an office of public trust too. This is a breach of that trust, a grave security risk, and it likely violates the law. No one, regardless of party, should be applauding this. https://t.co/YTbL6usqOT— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) August 12, 2018
As someone who spent a fair amount of time in the Situation Room, I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how insane this is https://t.co/OC3Z8I0FKO— Ilan Goldenberg (@ilangoldenberg) August 12, 2018
If Omarosa carried for example a cellphone into the Situation Room, then not only did she record conversations there, but so potentially has any country or criminal organization that thought to hack her phone— David Frum (@davidfrum) August 12, 2018
Who in their right mind thinks it’s appropriate to secretly record the White House chief of staff in the Situation Room?— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 12, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/Brian Snyder