Poll: Majority of voters say secretly recording the president is unacceptable

The majority of voters said they believe it’s unacceptable for a White House aide to secretly record the president during closed-door policy meetings, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill.

The survey showed 62 percent of those surveyed opposed secretly taping the commander in chief as former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman did during her tenure working for President Trump, before being fired earlier this year.

Meanwhile, 59 percent said they thought releasing any tape with a recording of the President should be illegal and punishable by law.

Voters were also opposed to secretly taping national security discussions inside the Situation Room, with 70 percent saying it should be illegal.

“If there is no law prohibiting people from making recordings of officials in the [situation] room, the public would overwhelmingly support one and condemned the things that Omarosa did,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark Penn.

The findings come after Manigault Newman released a recording of a private phone call with President Trump, in which he appears not to know that the former contestant on “The Apprentice” had been fired.

More controversially, Manigault Newman also secretly recorded chief of staff John Kelly in the White House Situation Room, in which Kelly can be heard pushing her out by asking her to “go on without any type of difficulty.”

White House officials said they were looking into legal options to prevent her from releasing additional tapes, telling ABC News they are looking to punish her for recording her conversation with Kelly.

During an appearance on “Meet the Press” earlier this month, Manigault Newman said she didn’t regret the tapes, arguing she needed them to defend herself. 

Manigault Newman released the recordings in a series of media interviews ahead of the release of her tell-all memoir “Unhinged” earlier this month.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll showed a strong attitude by voters against leaks, with 45 percent of those polled saying an independent counsel should investigate leaks with the U.S. Department of Justice determining whether they are illegal on a case by case basis. 

Meanwhile, 35 percent said leaks could pose a threat to the country’s national security and should be outlawed, while only 21 percent of voters said they feel leaks are an important factor in informing the public and should not be made illegal. 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey consisted of surveys of 1,330 registered voters conducted Aug. 22-23. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 2 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Donald Trump John Kelly Omarosa Manigault Newman
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